Eleven Things to Watch for In Health Care Reform

Health Care Reform is now heading to signature, but it is a decidedly complex path. There are two totally separate bills that are being fused - the senate, and the house bill.

The senate bill is essentially a give-away to big Insurance lobbyists who've decided they want their piece of the action. After dangling the carrot on-a-stick of a true national health service, they've eliminated nearly every provision from the bill - and those who fight for change have given them up, all the while saying, 'well at least there will be a national health service'. And then. They took that away. The senate bill is a dangerous set of expensive problems for the United States - not the least of which will be the requirement that every man woman and child in America will be required to have health insurance from the date forward of its enactment. Which was also dangled around in the Senate bill - we are looking at legislation that may not even take effect until four years from now. - All in all, not such a great change in the way we do things - especially considering the possible electoral effect of 2010 and 2012.

The house bill, on the other hand, is a model of actual reform. Its provision to create a national health service will allow competition in a broken market for 96 percent of Americans. The prospect of its passage , or at least the option of reform it contains - will drive against the grain of the few senators that kept the house bill from going forward - and helping to create the frankenstein's monster of a senate bill . There is unanimous republican opposition, but only because the republican party under George Bush decided to fully incorporate lobbyism as a principle the founding fathers wanted in our country. Joe Lieberman is now one of only nine senators who have ever taken more money from the Healthcare Industry Lobbyists - in the history of the US Senate. Even more ironically, Joseph Lieberman 'stood up' for the people of connecticut (who currently poll 60 percent in favor of a national health service, with only 34 percent opposing) to block a national health service from the senate bill - while his wife's organization supported it . She was in fact, at the time, in Israel, a state that not only has a european style national health service such as the house bill provides - but in fact, America actually subsidizes it . In all of this, Hadassah Lieberman has been conveniently unavailable for comment - so naturally wonkette takes over and proposes a solution ;) .

HealthCare Reform reads 2,000 pages - however, this is also the 21st century. We generally work through about this much information every three or five days. At least, if you've ever surfed the web. So, without delay - here are ten things you need to watch for in the coming Healthcare Conference Committee. And trust me, if you've been on your congressman or your senator this far, now is not the time to stop. These ten points and their correct passage - especially the national health service element, are crucial to real reform.

However, there is an eleventh item I would like to propose. Although young autistic children, and women who cannot bring themselves to take their high blood pressure medication (even after having a stroke) are not technically sick, they cannot function in society. The eleventh item I would watch for psychiatric healthcare be included in the healthcare reform provisions in general, and specifically - any form of healthcare that is preventative in nature. Although there have been questions about such healthcare, the GAO estimates that preventative care alone will carry the cost of legislation. Prevention can pay for Healthcare reform - and a new attitude towards prevention from the radically underinsured, as well as the uninsured - will yield immense benefit. One of the things I could never understand, in a country where the divorce rate is almost 70 percent - is why couples don't go to therapy.

But even more than that, I don't understand why a woman who measures a blood pressure of 188 over 134 will not take her blood pressure medication or go to the doctor. The thing we need to do, as Americans, is address the root of the problem. And perhaps ourselves.

So, for me. The 11th item to be included is therapy. The 21st century will be a coming era of genetic engineering, biomedical breakthroughs that can end aging, cancer and also the danger of multiple resistance or the possibility of runaway nanotech turning our planet into an endless field of grey goo. Ours is a society where men not only warn us about it first, but then willingly board airplanes with thermite in their underwear, and light their balls on fire in an attempt explode an airplane mid-air - board planes with ease - and, of course, our national heroines in the space flight program. Am I missing anything here?

The benefit of a little more sanity, health and stability on a pro-active basis might go farther than you think. Healthcare reform should include preventative medicine and all forms of therapy including, but not limited to - occupational, speech, psychiatric, and sports therapy.

Did I miss anything?