Tea party protesters and Joe Wilson are wrong on health care

Have you seen any of the coverage of these so-called tea party rallies?

There was a massive march in Washington, D.C. over the weekend. It was organized by the FreedomWorks Foundation led by former House leader Dick Armey. Watching the coverage on CNN this weekend was nothing short of disturbing. One guy carried a gun and said he was ready for a civil war, if needed. Others said they wanted to "take back" America. They are against "Obamacare" and rant about the evils of socialism.

But how many of the seniors in that crowd get federally-funded Medicare?

I wish the people who are without health care or those who've gone bankrupt just trying to pay their bills would rally together. And those of us who have coverage have to get off our butts and do what is morally right and support health care reform.

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We have to speak out against people like Rep. Joe "You Lie!" Wilson, a Republican who has defended the Confederate flag, and is demanding that people show proof of U.S. citizenship to qualify for health coverage.

This is a bad idea for many reasons. First of all, how would they require proof?

A driver's license isn't necessarily proof. Are they going to make all of us show birth certificates or passports to get coverage? Such measures are only going to create bureaucratic hurdles for people who are already sick. And they will add additional burdens on the poor and cast suspicion on brown people.

Plus this is costly. A House oversight committee found citizenship verification programs for Medicaid cost more than $8 million and they only caught eight undocumented immigrants, according to a New York Times editorial.

That's one million dollars to catch each undocumented immigrant. That's a waste of money.
I don't think the undocumented should get health care completely for free. We all have to pay something for our care.

Hypocrites like Wilson get health care for free. He is a retired Army
National Guard colonel and gets free military medical coverage.

But he's voted against veterans' benefits and extending health care to
all reservists and National Guardsmen, who have served tours in Iraq
and Afghanistan, according to Newsweek.

Why can't we allow the undocumented to buy into an affordable private or public exchange?

We let the undocumented buy houses and open bank accounts. That strengthens our economy as would increasing the pool of people who buy insurance.

It angers me that Obama is caving to the political right by excluding the undocumented.

And to make things worse on Friday the Obama Administration said they
would prevent the undocumented from buying into private health care
exchanges, according to a story by the Associated Press.

As I've blogged before we will save money if we help the undocumented
get preventive care. It's cheaper to treat someone early than waiting
until they show up in the emergency room.

Denying health care to the undocumented only creates a greater health risk for all of us.

Say an undocumented immigrant contracts swine flu or tuberculosis. He
may have symptoms that at first that are not life threatening. Don't we
want him to get treated as soon as possible so he doesn't pass it on to
others?

Isn't it better for him to have coverage to be able to visit a doctor
early? By the time he gets so sick he visits an emergency room he will
have infected others around him and it will cost more to treat him.

But people like "You lie!" Wilson thinks we should leave the undocumented out in the cold.

Well that puts all of our health at risk.

I do want Obama to pass health care reform. I believe that health care is
a human right and it's unconscionable that there are 47 million people
in this country without health insurance.

I watched Obama's speech last week and was moved especially when he spoke about the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and read from a letter he sent him. "At stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country," Obama said quoting Kennedy's letter.

But Obama shows weakness of character by not fighting to include everybody.

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