Health Care Protests Warn of Deeper Problems

The rhetoric is inflammatory, the demonstrations are explosive and the people are upset with the politicians. This is true with both parties. Health care ignited the debate with one committee trying to push its version of a bill through congress. It seems that those in Washington underestimated how the public would react to the health care proposals.

As the turmoil continues it appears as if most citizens are reacting to more than health care. They are concerned with over-spending, under-listening and a general lack of responsiveness on the part of their representatives. It’s possible that voter reaction will alter plans for stimulus one and stop stimulus two dead in its tracks. Cap and trade may have trouble making its way through the senate. And other spending proposals may be D.O.A. if vocal Americans continue to keep the pressure on the crowd doing business inside the beltway.

For now, the health care issue is uncertain. However, the administration is shifting from health care to health insurance. Single-pay or government options may give way to co-ops, with Washington still setting the standards and exercising bureaucratic control. Many believe this will increase costs and, at the same time, reduce the quality of care as the issue moves forward and more people are covered.

What remains to be seen is whether the will of the people (based on scientific polling data rather than Town Hall protests) or the will of congress prevails. I’m betting that the politicians ignore the facts, because they have a year – a lifetime in political measurements – to convince constituents they acted in the people’s best interest. With the power of both houses and the presidency behind the plan, the incumbent party does not want to squander an opportunity that has been in the making for decades.

Our representative form of government allows duly elected officials to vote their conscience; and if enough people disagree with the individual’s decision(s), this person will not be re-elected. This seems simple, but by the time elections roll around in 2010 other important issues may be higher on the priority list and the culprits will slip through one more time. Think about it. As pre-boomers we are faced with many immediate and financially devastating problems. We’ll be hurt in the short-term, but our children and grandchildren are going to be paying for today’s mistakes the rest of their lives.

Are we going to let this happen to them or our beloved America? Not if we take action and tell our representative, “Stop the politics. Go back to Washington, and come up with a bi-partisan plan to address the major problems of cost and coverage for health care before re-doing the entire system. While you’re at it, study the possible consequences of cap and trade prior to launching into it. Before appropriating another stimulus budget, see what results the first effort produced, where the money was spent and if the funds had any measurable effect. After that, please do your part, which may be the most difficult request of all; let the economy recover with no more quick fixes or government intervention. Then you might get re-elected. Thank you.”

Don Potter, a Philadelphia native, was born in 1936 and is a 50 year veteran of the advertising agency business. Now living in Los Angeles, he has written two novels in retirement, frequently writes on marketing issues, and has a blog dedicated to pre-boomers (those born between 1930 and 1945).

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