Healthcare debate rages after historic reform bill passes

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
Historic legislation adding tens of millions of Americans to health-care coverage may have passed the Democratic-controlled Congress. But it’s still a tough sell with many Americans, including some in the Auburn-area. The bill approved late Sunday could be signed by President Barack Obama as early as today. Obama’s already charting a path of public speaking engagements to explain the new direction for the nation. It will take some serious selling to convince people like Newcastle’s Rick Nelson that it’s going to help the United States. “I’ve followed it closely and it hasn’t been very well thought out,” Nelson said. “It doesn’t solve the problems it set out to solve – to provide the best medical care for those who can’t get it.” Instead of solving health-care problems, the debate regressed into political gamesmanship, Nelson said. At Auburn Drug in Downtown Auburn, owner Liz Briggs said the pharmacy is already contending with government regulation on prescriptions and MediCal patients that leave it paid below-cost on brand-name medications. “When the state cut back, we had to send away a third of our MediCal patients,” Briggs said. “I can’t imagine it being any better with government health care.” U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock has been consistently voting against the Obama-led effort to fundamentally change health care in the country. On Saturday, the Roseville Republican quoted director Cecil B. DeMille’s opening remarks in the introduction to the movie “The Ten Commandments” to express his stance in a speech on the floor of the House. “Are men the property of the state or are they free souls under God?” McClintock quoted DeMille, in remarks to the House of Representatives. McClintock went on to question whether Americans will be imprisoned if they don’t “buy products that government thinks they should buy” or protested the possibility of “setting loose” 16,000 new Internal Revenue Service agents to enforce new rules. On Monday, McClintock said the fight is far from over, with arguments shifting to the Senate, the Supreme Court, and to the electorate. “I’ve already pledged to sign on to legislation to rescind the act,” McClintock said. That could come as early as 2010. McClintock joined all other Republican congressmen in voting against the health care bill. That drew the ire of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which accused him of siding with big health-insurance companies. “After taking $71,822 in contributions from insurance companies, it’s outrageous that McClintock would put insurance company profits before helping middle-class families and small businesses afford coverage,” committee spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said. The Tea Party Patriots organization is also lining up against the Obama bill. Auburn’s Steve Cavolt, an organizer with the Auburn-based NorCal Tea Party Patriots, said the organization is already creating a petition calling for a repeal of the bill. “The last thing we need is government intrusion into an eighth of the economy,” Cavolt said. “We have the best health-care system in the world. I don’t want government to take it over.” Cavolt said a good comparison would be the problems that cropped up when the government took over the infamous Mustang Ranch bordello in Nevada. “They can’t even run a brothel that serves whisky,” Cavolt said.