Slaughter on Health Care

25 Feb

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) at Thursday’s health care reform summit:


I’ve been through this before. I was here when we had the Clinton debate. It was started, some of you will remember, by Lee Iacocca, who said, “We cannot export our automobiles, there is a $1,000 cost for health care in every one of them. My competitors are way ahead of me. They are eating my lunch.”

That was one of the main reasons, Mr. President, if you recall, that we decided we had to do something about that.

In the 13, 15 years since that’s happened we have done nothing about health care. We don’t export so much anymore. The automobile business is basically gone. We have done nothing to encourage entrepreneurs.


I think it would be really a good thing for us today, while we’re here in this room together, to really think about what’s absolutely important here. Not nitpick over little pieces of this and that, but think about all the people out there every single day, the number of people, excess deaths, because they have no health insurance.

I even have one constituent — you will not believe this, and I know you won’t, but it’s true — her sister died. This poor woman had no denture. She wore her dead sister’s teeth, which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit.

Do you ever believe that in America that that’s where we would be?

This is the last chance as far as I’m concerned, particularly on the export business. We have fallen behind. We’re no longer the biggest manufacturer in the world. We’ve lot our technological edge. We have an opportunity to do that, but a major part of the success of that is getting this health care bill passed.

Setting aside the fact that stories like this are all too common even in our “best system in the world”, the trade issue is an important one. In Canada, Ford, Honda, GM, Chrysler, and other automakers don’t have to worry about offering and paying for ridiculously expensive and crappy health insurance coverage for their employees. They get free comprehensive medical through the provincial government.

Maybe the Republicans are right. Maybe we should scrap the bill and start from scratch.

Since no serious politician is willing to badmouth or abolish Medicare, if it’s good enough for the over-65 set, it’s good enough for the under-65 set. Expand Medicare as an option available to all and be done with it.

20 Responses to “Slaughter on Health Care”

  1. Jackie February 25, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    Your site rocks and you now have a brand new follower. Keep up the excellent content.

  2. Eric Saldanha February 26, 2010 at 4:52 am #

    Alan – this is the closest we’re ever been to meaningful healthcare reform for all Americans and there is no way in hell we should start over. However flawed the current proposal is, it should be passed and improved, rather than punting it to the next legislative session, where more Republicans = more obstructionism and a regression from where we’re currently at.
    Also, “no serious politician is willing to badmouth or abolish Medicare…”? You’re correct as it’s only the batshit insane Republican/b> politicians advocating that.

    • Jon Splett February 26, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

      Forcing everyone to buy manditory insurance is a blowjob to the insurance industry, not ‘meaningful reform’.

      Blow the thing up and push through a single payer plan. When the Republicans bitch, the reply should be ‘You told us to start over, quit stalling and vote yes or STFU’

  3. Chris Smith February 26, 2010 at 7:45 am #

    In other news, I bought $50 worth of Chinese auction tickets yesterday at a customer facility to help pay for a 5 year old girl’s leukemia treatments.

    Ya know, because we have the best healthcare system in the world and all.

    Both of her parents were employed with insurance through Aetna. Unfortunately, a girl with advanced leukemia faced a lifetime cap of $1MM in medical treatment. Her parents exceeded that in one year and they are now bankrupt, living at their parents house because their home was foreclosed upon and are struggling to raise money to pay off the $1.2MM they owe and the funds to pay for the treatment they received before Medicaid kicked in.

    Also, because they were unable to finish paying for their daughter’s treatment, are “irresponsible debtors” and have a kid with a pre-existing condition, they will be ineligible for private insurance in the future.

    Now, a family of four which earned about $80K two and a half years ago is on Medicaid, Food Stamps and welfare. Hooray for America!

  4. Mike February 26, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    The proposed bill will NOT bend the cost curve no matter how many heart wrenching stories are told. NICE at England’s NHS has produced some horrific stories of suffering also…

    • Jon Splett February 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

      Yet no one in London is marching in the streets to abolish NHS in favor of private insurance.

      Why is that?

      • Mike February 26, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

        They are, take some time and read about the scandals…

      • Jon Splett February 27, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

        I have more than a few friends living in both the UK and Canada. Exactly NONE of them has every bitched about their health care and when the topic does get brought up, they end up asking ME about how bad the care is here and if I really can’t go see a doctor.

      • Mike February 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

        Young adults in the UK and Canada that are happy with their health… Quick notify the President, this anecdotal evidence could end the debate! But seriously, your friends pay for more for health coverage than the average American…

      • Jon Splett February 27, 2010 at 11:26 pm #

        The major difference is how tied to health care careers are.

        I know quite a few people who produce music and throw events in Toronto. They started a production company and made it their careers because they don’t have to worry about carrying health insurance. On the flip side of things, every single American DJ and producer I know works a day job in order to have health insurance. Guess which country has the more flourishing electronic music scene.

        Single payer health insurance would bring a new age of entrepreneurship among people my age at time when the economy desperately needs it. The most creative college graduates are shackled to big companies who waste their talents right now because of crippling student loans and a desperate need to take any job that will give you a health plan. People in their late 20’s graduate college and grad school as indebted indentured servants to corporate interests and they waste the most productive years of their lives climbing a corporate latter they’d gladly never be a part of if given the opportunity.

        If I had a skill set that could find me a job in Europe or Canada right now, I’d leave this country in a heartbeat. The system we’ve built is a joke.

      • Mike February 28, 2010 at 12:26 am #

        Believe in entrepreneurship… I salute that drive, this country was built on that spirit. I just believe that increased government control of our lives will hinder your ability to be what you want to be.

  5. Dan February 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    I welcome the Dems using the nuclear option and ramming their unwanted bill through. It shows them to be the hacks they are, and fortunately, there will be an election before this disaster of a bill is implemented. 1994 Redux

    • Chris from OP February 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

      “Unwanted bill”?  That’s news to me.

      • Mike February 26, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

        Pick a poll and read it…

  6. Ward February 26, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    I wonder how many of those Ontario auto workers with “free comprehensive medical” (that’s right folks–it doesn’t cost anybody anything) can afford to come to the States to get proper treatment, like Newfie Premier Danny Williams did.

    I’ll save you the research, Splett–zero.

    • Jon Splett February 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

      Well they sure can afford more health care than me, which would be none.

      But I guess I’m a selfish prick for wanting the ability to see a doctor if I get sick…

      • Mike February 26, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

        The whole point of reform is to bend the cost curve downward, this bill does the exact opposite… Guess how much health care costs in Iowa or South Dakota, much cheaper than NY… Do you know why that is? Mandates!

      • Jon Splett February 27, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

        I don’t live in NY.

        When I DID live in NY, I was covered under Healthy New York. I don’t qualify for any similar programs in Michigan.

      • Mike February 27, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

        Michigan? I feel sorry for you, one of the most liberal and unionized states in the nation… My brother lived there for a time and he escaped as soon as possible. But Jon, just for fun, price some health care coverages in other states. If only you and I could purchase these policies across state lines…


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