>Western Tribune column October 28, 2009 Party of No

>Western Tribune column today

The party of “no” will be left behind

I’m beginning to wonder why we trust our health care to insurance companies, and why anyone would trust the Republicans to lead on this issue.

We are in the middle of an H1N1 flu pandemic, and seasonal flu season has not even started yet. The H1N1 flu is affecting and killing people in different age groups than the seasonal flu.

The surgeon general holds a key position in educating the public on health issues, and presumably if we had one she could be at work during the current pandemic.

But the top Republican on the senate health committee, Michael Enzi, has indicated he will block the confirmations of Dr. Regina Benjamin and other top health picks from moving forward because of a so-called gag order on health insurance companies that would prevent them from telling their views on health care legislation.

Even after the Obama administration retreated on the order, Enzi is still working to stall the nominees.

Members of the party of “no,” the Republicans, claim health care decisions should be between a patient and his or her doctor. They say they do not want the government involved.

Yet they are fine with insurance companies making decisions about an individual’s care. On an almost daily basis we hear examples of such practices.

A friend of mine had a drug prescribed by a physician, and the pharmacy would not fill it because the insurance company wanted it changed to another drug. Not a generic. Another drug.

I requested a refill of a prescription from a pharmacy one day before I was to run out because I was leaving town. The pharmacy had no problem with filling it, but my insurance company would not pay because I was filling the prescription a day early.

Insurance companies have refused to cover babies who were too fat, and now refuse to cover those who are too thin.

The television and the internet are full of stories of people who have been denied a procedure, or denied coverage, because an insurance company decided so.

Yet when the government is involved, as with the veterans and the seniors, the decisions seem to be made by the doctors and patients.

The party of “yes, we can” is going to pass health care reform with a public option that is now being described as “Medicare, part E (for everyone).

And the party of “no” will be left behind.

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