Celia Wcislo, a V.P. at 1199 SEIU and a member of the Boston Public Health Commission, says Republicans are trying to frighten the public away from health reform:
I watched the debate Saturday evening in the House of Representatives, and wondered how elected officials could be from such different planets. Shortly after the vote was taken, news reporters such as TIME writer Jay Newton-Small tried to analyze the divide.
Republicans were fanning our worst fears last night. “Big brother” is watching and wanting to control your health. “Big brother” will make you pay a $250,000 fine and then send you to jail for five years. It didn’t matter that no one has been arrested or sent to jail under Massachusetts health reform — even after more than 3 years of implementation of reform. A lie is okay as long as they don't have to prove it.
They are trying to frighten the public by saying that some “bureaucrat” will design your health plan, pick your drugs, or decide when you die. Like any of us really pick our plans or design them. (Don’t our employers chose what we can pick from?) Do any of us have a say in our prescriptions (doctors chose them, insurers substitute generics, or our own finances determine if we can afford them at all). And how many people die every year because they could not afford a treatment that could have prolonged their life?
The Republican substitute bill offered nothing for the uninsured. Nothing. It offered breaks for providers on malpractice coverage, but nothing that protected the quality of our care. If offered some employers the right to band together to buy coverage (hopefully at a lower rate) but left many employers out. But it provided no help for the 46 million people who have no coverage today!
Like a chapter from Orwell’s book “1984”, Republicans are frightening people in hopes of defeating healthcare reform. Access to coverage and subsidies becomes a big government take-over of your healthcare. Setting rules that mean insurance companies cannot deny you coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions becomes big government interfering in your private affairs. In the name of American freedom, they tried to shout down H3962, and leave you the freedom to remain untreated, in medical debt, or the facing the possibility of dying from lack of treatment.
The debate will now continue in the Senate. At the end of the day, Americans need good healthcare reform, despite all the hysteria Republicans are trying to stir up.
This program aired on November 8, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.