Richard Durbin

Though many will not agree, and most will disagree without even reading this, I think that Senator Richard Durbin gave an amazing speech about the health care reform.  I would recommend reading (and thinking about) the whole thing, but I am going to pull out a few quotes that I thought were especially thoughtful

On the Republican idea of fixing health care:

The point that’s been made by the president is if we do believe the Congressional Budget Office, when Orrin Hatch asked them how much will we save if we implement the Republican plan on medical malpractice from the House, they said $54 billion over 10 years; $5.4 billion a year is a lot of money, except in the context of the $2.5 trillion bill that we pay each year for health care. It represents one-fifth of 1 percent of the amount of money we spend each year on health care.

The Congressional Budget Office said something else. They said and as you lose accountability for what the doctors and hospitals are doing, more people will die — 4,800 a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s reference to this study.

On the insane idea of lowering the already low medical malpractice cap:

But let me tell you what, limiting the recovery for pain and suffering for someone who is entitled — entitled because they’re innocent victims — to be paid isn’t eliminating junk lawsuits. I will tell you that as far as the president is concerned, in his neighborhood there is a great hospital, which I will not name, and at this hospital a woman went in for a simple removal of a mole from her face. And under general anesthesia, the oxygen caught fire, burning her face. She went through repeated surgeries, scars and deformity. Her life will never be the same. And you are saying that this innocent woman is only entitled to $250,000 in pain and suffering.

And then probably the best part of the whole speech:

Step back for a second and look at who we are in this room. As was said many years ago, the law in its majestic equality forbids both the wealthy and the poor from sleeping under bridges. When it comes to the wealthy in health care per capita, we’re the wealthiest people in America. the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program administered by the federal government, setting minimum standards for the health insurance that we enjoy as individuals and want for our families, is all we’re asking for in this bill for families across America.

If you think it’s a socialist plot and it’s wrong, for goodness sakes drop out of the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program. But if you think it’s good enough for your family, shouldn’t our health insurance be good enough for the rest of America? That’s what it gets down to. Why have this double standard?

Tom Harkin is right. Why do we continue to discriminate against people when we know that each one of us is only one accident or one diagnosis away from being one of those unfortunate few who can’t afford or can’t find health insurance.


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