As an American and a resident of Weber County, I salute President Obama, Sen. Harry Reid, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi for pushing the health care reform bill through the legislative process. Until the administration of George W. Bush, I was an avid Republican and served in the Reagan and Bush (senior) administrations as a political appointee. But I will not allow Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh to define conservatism for me, nor will I accept the half-truths and invectives with which they pollute the airways.
Those who listen to these hate-mongers should realize that they have become millionaires by peddling the views they do. I recall Limbaugh frequently stating that he hoped Obama would fail. That is tantamount to wishing America would fail for Obama is our freely elected president.
What has happened to civility in this country? I did not vote for Obama but we, the American people, did. I consider myself an American, not a Utahn. I served 23 years in the United States Air Force and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance to one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
For as long as he is president, I will respect the office of president and the person who occupies it. It is pure hypocrisy or worse for those who legislate (many, if not most of whom are millionaires) to try to deny basic insurance coverage to middle- and lower-class Americans. We must understand that each member of the House of Representatives and each senator -- Republican and Democrat -- has health insurance with the major portion of their premiums being paid by the taxpayer. I know because I having worked in the government also have such a policy. Where is the "justice for all" in this?
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the legislation would extend coverage to 32 million Americans who lack it and cut deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade. If realized, the expansion of coverage would include 95 percent of all eligible individuals under age 65.
For the first 10 years, it will cost about $100 billion a year. This is about the yearly cost of the Iraq War. Why is providing health care to Americans less desirable than invading and fighting a protracted war in a country far away that did not threaten us?
Republicans constantly assert that we will pay more taxes. Wait a minute. Who will pay more taxes? Not people in my income bracket! In fact, we may well see tax relief. Those who will be taxed more are families whose income exceeds $250,000 annually or singles whose income is at $200,000. Why do those who claim we will pay more taxes never mention these details?
The insurance industry, which spent millions on advertising trying to block the bill, would come under new federal regulation. They would be forbidden from placing lifetime dollar limits on policies, from denying coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions and from canceling policies when a policyholder becomes ill. Does the ordinary citizen understand that CEOs of insurance companies make millions of dollars every year? Some make as much as $24 million a year. Is this what we mean by free enterprise?
Never in the more than 15 years that I have resided in Europe have I met a person who wanted to trade their health care system for ours. I had a hip replacement performed in Germany. The procedure was no different or the care less than that I received for a like operation at McKay-Dee in Ogden.
It is disingenuous to say that we will receive inferior care under the legislation that Obama has signed. It is equally devious to cite horror cases from England or Canada. We have enough of our own. And it is simply wrong to call this socialized medicine knowing that people tend to associate socialism with communism.
Finally, my religious faith believes that governments are instituted of God for the good of the people -- all people, not just the rich and privileged! We are often reminded of our duty to care for the less fortunate. I therefore find it odd that the residents of this state are so anti-Obama.
West Haven resident Lynn M. Hansen received a B.A. from Utah State University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Appointed ambassador by President Reagan, he served as head of the U.S. Delegation to the Geneva Conference on Disarmament and later with the CIA as vice-chairman of the National Ingelligence Council. He recently returned from Hamburg, Germany, where he served as LDS mission president.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
A Conservative's Op-Ed For Health Care
As published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner. Bold provided by me.