Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thank You, Dennis Kucinich

Today, Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio announced that he will vote yes on the health care reform bill, and I want to thank him. Although the bill is far from perfect, and I am disappointed it does not include a public option, it does contain provisions that will help many Americans. Here are the top ten immediate benefits according to the House Democrats:
  • Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
  • Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
  • Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;
  • Lower seniors prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;
  • Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
  • Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;
  • Require plans to cover an enrollee’s dependent children until age 26;
  • Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
  • Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
  • Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.
Representative Kucinich, by changing his vote, is helping millions of Americans. And when this legislation takes effect and brings visible benefits and is not the boogieman that the Republicans are making it out to be, that will pave the way for further reform.

Finally, it is so important that we not allow the Republicans the victory of defeating this legislation just for the sake of hurting President Obama. Because that is all it is about for the Republicans. They don't care about anything but political victories.

So thank you, Dennis Kucinich, for making this courageous move. And for all the progressives out there who are criticizing him for it, please look at the bigger picture. This is not a harmful bill. It just doesn't go as far as we would have liked. Don't allow the Republicans a victory because we can't unite. If the liberals contribute to the bill not passing, they are just as bad as the Blue Dogs.