"Republicans care more about property, Democrats care more about people" Ted Sorensen - President Kennedy's Special Counsel & Adviser, and primary speechwriter September 23, 2009 Atop the front page of the New York Times today is a color photo of Georgia homes flooded up to their rafters, an image that illustrates how when it comes to insurance our Congress applies two standards, separate and unequal, one for property and a lesser one for people. Unlike people without health insurance, homeowners have access to public option flood insurance. Even those who fail to take personal responsibility to buy insurance to protect their property can get benefits, thanks in good part to politicians who are leading opponents of public option healthcare. Consider the example of Trent Lott of Mississippi, who was that state's senior senator when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, flooding his home looking out on the Gulf. Lott had not exercised personal responsibility by taking out flood insurance even though it was available from the federal government at low cost. He did have private insurance, but his insurer refused to pay much of the claim, saying it was not wind damage (which was covered by the policy), but water damage (which was excluded). Weeks later Lott introduced Senate Bill 1936, which would have authorized retroactive flood insurance. The idea came from Representative Gene Taylor, a Democrat who represented the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which should remind us that when there is voter demand for reform, and campaign contributions are not the driving force, the parties have worked together. Lott's bill would have let flood victims pay 10 years of flood insurance premiums after-the-fact plus a 5 percent late payment penalty. Since this storm was rated a once in 500 years occurrence, even 10 years of premiums would not come close to covering the real costs, meaning a taxpayer subsidy was built into the Lott bill. Instead of being laughed at by his fellow Republicans for promoting socialism, the concept of retroactive relief was warmly embraced, although not the idea for retroactive insurance. Instead the government went with handouts. ... There is also an interesting twist in this public option for another aspect of the health care debate - what to do about those who decline to buy insurance. In Mississippi the relief for flooded buildings came with a requirement that owners buy flood insurance. It went further, requiring a covenant be added to their property deeds requiring the current and all future owners of that property to maintain public option flood insurance. There is another word for that: government mandated insurance. How about a similar retroactive option for people with a pre-existing condition who do not have health insurance? Many of these people had insurance before the recession cost them their jobs and with it, their health care coverage. Even people who took personal responsibility and had health insurance now may be without healthcare insurance because the recession cost them their jobs or their employers enough revenue to continue coverage. Why should those who lost their jobs and thus their healthcare insurance be held to a different standard than irresponsible homeowners like former Senator Lott? Congress is so generous in its subsidies for property that the public option for flood insurance even covers property built in flood prone areas. And you can literally buy insurance on the day of a flood in some cases, and 1 day before in others. ... Health insurance companies have found more than 1,400 reasons they can retroactively take away health insurance benefits from people, Congressional investigators found after digging through the fine print of insurance contracts. (You, of course, have read and understand every word in your health insurance contract, right?) A woman who had acne was denied breast cancer coverage, for example, though she later got her coverage restored. And health insurance companies have become masters at digging up excuses to rescind policies, as shown by the recent hearings held by Representative Henry Waxman, who chairs the House subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. For-profit health insurers literally reward doctors who deny costly care to people, making corporate-run death panels a lucrative enterprise. As recounted in my book FREE LUNCH, Dr. Linda Peeno denied a heart transplant to a man she never met even though she was certain it would cause him to die. She did so in Kentucky, where she had a medical license, by stamping "denied" on a form even though the man was in California, where she was not licensed. Humana, one of the biggest for-profit health insurers, rewarded her and Dr. Peeneo got a conscience that caused her to stop that work and start working to end such abominations. We have elevated property above human lives. That members of Congress who frequently proclaim their religious faith and cite the Bible as their guide would put property above people suggests they need to actually read the texts they claim guide them. Neither Jesus nor the Old Testament prophets ever put property first. They did however denounce those who did, labeling their deeds with a simple word: evil. Two standards, separate and unequal, for the health of property and the health of people, are un-American. This bias in favor of property over people should be ended with all deliberate speed by raising the standard for people to that of property. A public option would be one small step in that direction.
More Luke 16:13-15  No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon (money)  The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.  He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.