We The People: Unification is key to fixing healthcare

“Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: It might have been.”

Our parents and grandparents, members of the “Greatest Generation” survived the Depression, defeated the Axis and battled a Cold War. Any subsequent generation, when compared to them, is found wanting.

Are our fathers and mothers really different from us or our children? Children today are blessed with more wealth and material possessions than any previous generation, but these things do not make them better persons or better citizens.

The Greatest Generation had many fewer material possessions but produced “stronger” and “better” individuals. Why? The challenges they faced brought them together to work for sensible goals. When celebrity, wealth and material possessions are idolized, it should be no surprise that more people adopt an “every person for himself” mentality.

We face great challenges, and if we work together we will overcome them. LICH and the University Hospital at SUNY Downstate are teetering on the edge of closure. LICH made money and was solvent until a management corporation took over and bled it dry.

The experts agree that our healthcare system is not working. The Affordable Care Act is a step in a new direction for American healthcare. It is intended to provide healthcare for individuals and to control the cost of healthcare as well.

The GOP has renewed its attack on the ACA through an assault on federal protections for insurers: reinsurance for various insurers including ACA participants. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) calls these protections “government favoritism and corporate cronyism.”

However, this reinsurance or “loss corridor” is really a protection for insurers, subsidized by the federal government, which protects other insurers including ones in the National Flood Insurance Program. This new stealth attack on the ACA is also an attack on flood insurance.

Do Senator Rubio’s constituents realize his new attack on the ACA, if successful, could eliminate flood insurance for beach properties in the Sunshine State? He should direct his energy to pushing real reform for the healthcare system.

Our healthcare system is the most expensive in the world and although described as the best in the world by Senator Shelby (R-Alabama), it left more than 45 million citizens uncovered by insurance.

The U.S. healthcare system is ranked 37th in performance of 191 other nations. It is ranked 27th in life expectancy of 189 other nations. Hungary and Cuba have better infant mortality rates.

Medical bills in America cause more than 50 percent of consumer bankruptcy filings. However, health care companies and insurance firms are able to make a profit in this dysfunctional and less than successful system. It would be better if the extremist members of the GOP would work on solutions for healthcare problems rather than inventing new ways to attack the ACA.

We need leaders who can work together for a better future. Governor Cuomo in an interview cited extreme conservative groups as a part of the political debate that has lost its relevance and appeal to the public. Extremist ideologues on both ends of the political spectrum detract from society’s ability to tackle important issues like health care, federal gun legislation and fiscal restraint.

In 2013, New York State spent $659 million in overtime for 58,000 employees of the MTA. We need to work together on a local, state and national level or we will lose the opportunity to make a better society and murmur: “It might have been different”.

Locally, Brooklyn GOP party members are still fighting over the 2013 re-election of Chairperson Craig Eaton. Senator Marty Golden pushed his hand-picked candidate, Tim Cochrane, to replace Eaton, his former friend and confidante, but at a raucous convention the Eatonites prevailed over the Goldenistas.

Golden supporters filed a lawsuit to overturn the election result. A state supreme court judge has listened to the arguments and will render a decision on whether the election was illegal. Stay tuned.

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