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Warning to GOP: Recession Will Last a Lot Longer Without Health-Care Reform

(Posted 5:00 a.m. EST Thursday, January 21, 2010)


I’m going to be brief and to the point:

If Republicans think they’ve stopped health-care reform dead in its tracks by robbing Senate Democrats of their filibuster-proof 60-vote majority, they’d better think again.

To be sure, Republican Scott Brown’s upset victory over Democrat Martha Coakley in Tuesday’s special Senate election in Massachusetts has put a serious damper on the momentum for health-care reform, but it hasn’t killed it outright.

Democrats might be forced to go back to the drawing board — their current legislation now shot to pieces. But they’re not about to abandon their top domestic priority: Getting the nation’s economy back on track.

And whether the Republicans like it or not, health-care reform is inseparable from economic recovery.

To the contrary, the need for health-care reform will only intensify in the long run by causing unemployment to remain stubbornly high — and perhaps get even worse — prolonging the recession.

Employers have refused to rehire the millions of workers they’ve laid off in part because they can no longer sustain the soaring cost of the health insurance plans they provide their employees.

Stopping health-care reform will give employers no incentive to hire again any time soon — and will likely cause them to lay off still more workers.

That, in turn, will depress consumer spending — which accounts for two-thirds of the nation’s economic activity — and increase personal debt, as bills go unpaid due to loss of income.

Those fortunate enough to keep their jobs will further tighten their belts and cut back on spending, out of fear that they will be next in line to lose their jobs.

Without health-care reform, millions more Americans will be forced to live without health insurance because they can no longer afford it — putting them a serious illness or an accident away from being forced into bankruptcy because they won’t be able to pay their medical bills.

At a time when home foreclosures are still increasing, a rise in medical-related bankruptcies on top of them would deepen the recession — already the worst in 30 years — into a full-scale Second Great Depression.

This is what will happen if Congress fails to enact health-care reform. The Republicans are clearly in denial of this reality. They cover up their eyes and ears to this crisis at the the nation’s economic peril.

We are the only nation on Earth that does not have comprehensive health insurance coverage that each and every one of its citizens can afford. This shameful — I dare say, immoral — status quo is unsustainable.

Health-care reform is an absolute must. There will be no recovery without it. The stakes are that high. The Republicans had better take off their blinders — now.

Skeeter Sanders
Eduitor & Publisher
The ‘Skeeter Bites Report

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Copyright 2010, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.

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I'm a native of New York City who's called the Green Mountain State of Vermont home since the summer of 1994.

A former print journalist and newspaper editor, I turned to blogging in 2005 to take advantage of the growing power and influence of the Internet and report news and information without the limitations imposed by editors and by economic constraints -- and to offer insights on current events that have often been ignored by the mainstream news media.

Politically, I acknowledge being an independent left-of-center moderate -- socially liberal and economically conservative -- who's not afraid to sharply criticize hard-liners of both the Left and the Right when necessary.

I'm also a radio DJ. I host northern New England's only Smooth Jazz radio show, "The Quiet Storm," which you can listen to LIVE online every Thursday at 12:00 noon EDT/9:00 a.m. PDT/16:00 GMT on WGDR-FM in Plainfield, Vermont.