If healthcare reform will have a personal effect on 304 million Americans and if it is so important it must be bipartisan, why have we abandoned any pretense of representative government in the making of this legislation?
The truth about “representative government” in our “democratic republic” is this:
We are being screwed because the healthcare bill – if there is to be one at all – is being negotiated by people who represent the tiniest fraction of Americans, none of whom live anywhere near anyplace that would be called a major city or even a large metropolitan area.
We have put our medical futures in the hands of people most of us wouldn’t elect to a city council or a Homeowners Association board. Instead of making use of the best and the brightest, we have selected the weakest of the weak – and no one seems to care.
We are a nation of more than 304 million and we are letting our most important domestic agenda be set by… the guy who lives in the middle of nowhere, someplace you need one of those GPS systems to even find it.
The top 5 metro areas in the United States have a total population of 53,585,000. These places are well known to us all. They are: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia. No elected official from any of these cities or metro areas is drafting the healthcare bill.
The next 5 most populated metro areas have a population of 26,408,000. They include Atlanta, Washington DC, Miami, Houston and Boston. No official representing any of these places is on the so-called “Gang of Six,” who are actually writing the bill.
That means that 80 million Americans who live in the top ten metropolitan areas are depending on strangers from small towns thousands of miles away for their medical care and their lives, plus the lives of their loved ones.
How many metropolitan areas in these United States have a population greater than 1 million people? Many. The answer is – 53 – ranging from #1 New York with 19.006 million people to #53 Tucson with 1.012 million residents.
Why is this important?
Because not one of these 53 million-plus metro areas has a single senator involved in the negotiations for the healthcare reform bill currently being worked out by the US Congress.
The “Gang of Six” can hardly be said to be representing all of America.
Among the 3 Republicans who hold the fate of this legislation in their hands – Grassley of Iowa, Snowe of Maine and Enzi of Wyoming – they have the following as the largest metro areas that they actually represent and from which they have been elected to the US Senate:
#243 Waterloo, Iowa, represented by Grassley
#269 Bangor, Maine, represented by Snowe
#421 Cheyenne, Wyoming, represented by Enzi
Let’s be serious about this. Mike Enzi of Wyoming – a senator who doesn’t have constituents who live anywhere near the top 420 most populated areas in this country – is deciding exactly what your healthcare will be! That’s plain crazy. Under normal circumstances you wouldn’t put him in charge of your grocery shopping.
The 3 top GOP represented metropolitan areas – Waterloo, Bangor and Cheyenne - have a total population of 397,000 people. Let’s put this in a meaningful perspective. Port St. Luci, Florida has a population of 400,121. What do mean you don’t know where Port St. Luci Florida is… or you’re not sure you’ve ever even heard of it before? Well, three senators who represent less people than live there are deciding your future healthcare.
But… you say… at least the Democrats have a majority on the committee debating this bill and they really do represent America – don’t they? Take a look and don’t hold your breath. The 3 Democrats selected to “make the deal” are – Max Baucus of Montana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Jeff Bingaman from New Mexico.
The largest metro areas these Democrats represent are:
#59 Albuquerque, New Mexico, represented by Bingaman
#214 Fargo, North Dakota, represented by Conrad
#266 Billings, Montana, represented by Baucus
These metro areas have a total population of 1,185,000 people. More than the Republicans’ 397,000… but really… is this the best we can do?
So, maybe this tiny fraction of Americans who have been tasked with this job are there because the committee hasn’t got any members from more populated states? Could that be so?
Senator Charles Schumer from New York is a committee member. He represents 19.3 million New Yorkers – every one of them an American citizen – every one of them having a need for and an interest in healthcare. Also on the committee is Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. He represents 18.1 million Floridians. I’ve heard that the millions of people living in Florida occasionally go to a doctor. On the GOP side, there is Senator John Cornyn of Texas who represents 23.5 million Texans. Wait a minute. You mean to tell me the Republicans had a Texan at their disposal and they turned instead to a guy from Wyoming? Yes they did.
And yes, you are right – do the math – the same committee that selects six of its members to negotiate the healthcare bill – six who represent a combined total of only 10.3 million Americans, overlooked three other senators on the same committee who represent more than 61 million people! Half as many senators – six times as many people – who needs them?
And, the US Senate as a whole is not off the hook here. In all its legislative wisdom it neglected to include on this committee any senator from the states of California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan or Illinois. The senators from these states only represent some 83 million American citizens.
What is going on here?
If you listed the ten most important things you have to do in your life, you would not allow a single one of these “Gang of Six” to handle any of them – not by choice you wouldn’t. But America’s healthcare? Sure, why not? Hand all that over to Max Baucus, Chuck Grassley, Mike Enzi and Kent Conrad.
What have we done? What will we have to say for ouselves when these guys give us exactly what we deserve?
Where is the public outcry against this obscenity perpetrated upon representative, democratic government? There is no outcry, no outrage, no protest. None I’ve seen.
Call it “Change We Can Believe In” or call it what it more likely seems to be – Bullshit! – But c’mon now. Isn’t it silly to let senators from Iowa, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Maine and New Mexico determine the future of healthcare for everybody who lives in the United States of America?