I recently got a 34 percent hike in my monthly health insurance premium, making health insurance the largest line item in my cost of living — large than housing, larger than food, larger than transportation. And of course this does not include my co-pays for doctor visits and medicines.

Last spring America won the big battle for healthcare reform with the Affordable Care Act, but that act did not include the critical critical “public option” plank, offering consumers the choice of a government-sponsored healthcare plan that would offer more affordable insurance and reduce the national deficit. Now Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Cal.) has introduced legislation in the House calling for a “robust public option” and she has 121 co-sponsors. It is a non-started in the Senate, but this is the direction we are going. Next year it will be introduced in the House and the Senate and we may have a public option before the 2012 election. The Affordable Care Act was just the beginning. It will take more time and much more work, but America will get the kind of healtcare we need.

Read about Woolsey’s bill at http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0722/woolsey-robust-public-option/

And while we are on the subject of healthcare reform and all its shortcomings, here is Chris Hedges’ take on the Affordable Care Act. He doesn’t mince words.

A close reading of the new health care legislation, which will conveniently take effect in 2014 after the next presidential election, is deeply depressing. The legislation not only mocks the lofty promises made by President Barack Obama, exposing most as lies, but sadly reconfirms that our nation is hostage to unchecked corporate greed and abuse. The simple truth, that single-payer nonprofit health care for all Americans would dramatically reduce costs and save lives, that the for-profit health care system is the problem and must be destroyed, is censored out of the public debate by a media that relies on these corporations as major advertisers and sponsors, as well as a morally bankrupt Democratic Party that is as bought off by corporations as the Republicans.

The 2,000-page piece of legislation, according to figures compiled by Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), will leave at least 23 million people without insurance, a figure that translates into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths a year among people who cannot afford care. It will permit prices to climb so that many of us will soon be paying close to 10 percent of our annual income to buy commercial health insurance, although this coverage will only pay for about 70 percent of our medical expenses. Those who become seriously ill, lose their incomes and cannot pay skyrocketing premiums will be denied coverage. And at least $447 billion in taxpayer subsidies will now be handed to insurance firms. We will be forced by law to buy their defective products. There is no check in the new legislation to halt rising health care costs. The elderly can be charged three times the rates provided to the young. Companies with predominantly female work forces can be charged higher gender-based rates. The dizzying array of technical loopholes in the bill-written in by armies of insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists-means that these companies, which profit off human sickness, suffering and death, can continue their grim game of trading away human life for money.

Read the rest of Hedges’ blast right here: www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/12

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