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Gary Horton: ‘We’ Dems overcome ‘me’ Reps

Full Speed to Port!

Posted: March 23, 2010 9:54 p.m.
Updated: March 24, 2010 4:55 a.m.

In the end, all the Republican screaming and protesting over health care reform makes clear the differences between today’s national Democratic and Republican parties. Simply put, the contrast is the party of “we” versus the party of “me.”

Respected fellow Signal columnist Steve Lunetta well demonstrated this Republican “me” bias just one week before health care reform was made law Sunday.

Lunetta told a positive and moving story of how his wife Trish had fallen ill during a family vacation, and how his Blue Cross policy worked well, the doctors worked great and Trish got out of a tough spot in good shape with quality care.

He summarized: “For those of you who claim that the system is broken and in need of a massive overhaul, I say ‘no.’ My family’s experience has not been perfect but I have a wife today because our system does work.”

I’m grateful the system worked well for Lunetta’s wife and family. That’s what we pay for with our premiums, (some of which increased 30 percent or more this year.)

But unfortunately, what worked for Lunetta isn’t working for everyone. He was fortunate.

He had a good policy he or his employer could afford.

Lunetta hadn’t been dropped from his policy because of prior illnesses or benefit overruns.

Lunetta hadn’t been priced out of the health insurance market — yet.

But Lunetta says, “It worked for me, so that’s good enough.” That’s the party of “me” reflected in his column.

“It worked for me, so who cares about anyone less fortunate.” That’s the “me” talking.

“It worked for me, so let’s not bother with all the problems we all know are intrinsic in our medical system.” That’s the “haves” in the haves versus the have-nots looking after their own.

That’s the party of “me,” which defines the Republican party of today.

Democrats, without one Republican vote, passed health care reform on Sunday night, which takes what’s happily working for Lunetta’s family and shares that confidence with a wider group of Americans.

The Democrats, without one Republican vote, delivered practical, positive change and a very wide group of Americans.

Because, unlike Lunetta’s happy experience, many Americans experience tragic problems with health care.

The “lose your job, lose your coverage” story isn’t a myth. It’s common.

The “I’m priced out of the market” story isn’t a myth. It’s common.

The “I got dropped because of my pre-existing condition” story isn’t a myth. It’s common.

But all that changed on Sunday, and guys like Lunetta will have to face that 34 million more Americans will get insurance — and those who already do will be freed from problems that have for so long vexed the system.

Please write The Signal if you have a problem with these reforms that take effect immediately:
* When you get a new policy, your kids can’t be denied for pre-existing conditions.

* Your kids can stay on your policy until they’re age 26. No more senseless “get dumped by your health insurance” as a special gift for your kids graduating college. This alone will help thousands and thousands of families in the Santa Clarita Valley.

* If you’re uninsured because of a pre-existing condition ,you can get insurance through an emergency policy.

* You can no longer get cancelled in your individual plan because you got sick. Your insurance will have to “insure” you, instead of exploit you, taking your money when you’re well but dropping you when sick.

* The senior “doughnut hole” shrunk, meaning seniors pay less out of pocket for prescription drugs.

* Small businesses will receive tax credits for supplying health insurance to their staff.

* The Congressional Budget Office says health care reform will reduce the deficit $138 billion in the first decade, and $1 trillion in the second decade.

The plan for reform is comprehensive, with substantial enhancements in the years ahead.

This is just a short list of things happening instantly. But just these immediate, no-brainer benefits improve thousands of SCV lives right now, while building a more secure future going forward.

Most of us have experienced health coverage problems, some quite seriously. That’s changing.

More of us will have Steve Lunetta’s good health care experience, and fewer of us will suffer with less.

Health care reform was about “we” and not “me.” Millions of lives improve instantly.

That caring for “us” happened without one Republican vote. Not one.

The Republican party of “me” said “no” to you, your family and the guy down the street caught in a health care nightmare.

So change has come, and the next time you’re stuck between jobs or get really sick — remember who to thank when medical insurance isn’t one more nightmare you’re battling.

Gary Horton lives in Valencia. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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