Health Care Reform, even more important now

We can’t afford to NOT fix this system!

                

By Jack E. Lohman

January will bring two major priorities: fixing our corrupt political system and our unsound health care system.  The wealthy will get its bailout, but then we must care for the sick and our society.

Companies are shipping jobs out of the country to avoid health care costs. Over 50% of personal bankruptcies are caused by high health care costs, and even more by the loss of jobs. Over 18,000 Americans die every year because they lack health care, and mothers are having strokes because they give a higher priority to putting food on the table than buying their blood pressure medicine.

Isn’t it time that we fix this system? We worry about bailing out the wealthy bankers for their stupidity and greed, but we ignore those who have little control over their health. 

There is but one cause for all of this: the little guy doesn’t give campaign contributions but the bankers and insurers do. Thus the laws are written to benefit those who bribe politicians with cash dollars, rather than for the best interest of the public. Follow every poor political decision and you’ll find cash bribes at the other end and a politician with his hand out.

This political corruption must be stopped by our next government.

Think about this:

  1. Roughly 31% of our health care costs benefit the insurance bureaucracy, an industry that adds absolutely nothing to health care for the patient. This is total waste!  But insurers give campaign cash to politicians and patients do not, so those who pay get to play.
                        
  2. For the same 16% of GDP that we are spending today on health care for 85% of our people, we could be providing first class health care through a Medicare-for-all system to 100% of Americans. It would not cost us a penny more to do it right, but the problem again is that the average American doesn’t give campaign cash and the insurance industry does.
                     
  3. The same people who called for free-market banking then, are calling for free-market health care now. Do they never learn? Should we let healthcare go the direction of banking? Should we allow it to be run by CEOs whose salaries are dependent on profits? If 100% of our people were honest, we wouldn’t need laws or regulations! But they aren’t.
             
  4. We’d pay for a Medicare-for-all system through taxes rather than wages, which would make American manufacturers more competitive and fewer jobs would be outsourced to other countries (which in most cases already have universal health care.)

The solution is unequivocal. Our politicians must say NO to the insurance industry cash and YES to the American people. And they must say NO to political corruption and the fat cats that fund their elections, and YES to honesty. Only public funding of campaigns would have prevented the credit and health care crises we face today.

Oh, let me correct that: Honest politicians that took bribes from them but nonetheless voted in the best interest of the country would have worked too. 🙂

For the record, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute continues to claim that Healthy Wisconsin would cost “taxpayers” $15.2 billion. WPRI should know better. It will cost “employers”  $15.2 billion but will save those same employers $17 billion in insurance premiums, yeilding a $1.8 billion savings!  That’s probably not the message their funders wanted to send, but it is what it is. The insurers will lose the $1.8 billion that the employers save.

However, you’ll have to read about it here because my corrections keep getting deleted from the WPRI blog. If their funders do not demand accuracy, or in fact prefer skewed information, it makes me wonder if WPRI is simply a money-making machine, generating reports that are not necessarily accurate but are helpful to their paying clients. There must be a better way to make a living.

I’ll be happy to print their response here …

9 Responses to Health Care Reform, even more important now

  1. rjjrdq says:

    Sure, a healthcare system is necessary but…wow, diet and exercise is almost like magic.

  2. Yeah, I agree. But sometimes accidents and genetic diseases like childhood diabetes creep in and destroy all perfectly laid plans.

    But I surely wouldn’t object to a higher deductible on obesity and smoking.

  3. And let me add, AT THE VERY LEAST let’s allow corporations and people to voluntarily sign on to the Medicare system at Medicare’s costs (adjusted for the younger age groups).

    But follow the money! You’ll find that the insurance industry doesn’t even want that. It may indeed demonstrate that Medicare is both (a) popular and (b) cost-effective, and that’s the last message they want sent.

    Medicare, incidentally, has limits. And once you meet those limits the system converts to a free-market system where you pay your own way. How’s that for “conservative” ideals?

  4. Alex Gerwer says:

    Jack, to your point, it seems that two aspects of healthcare reform are inescapable. The first is the need for regulation, not just any kind of regulation, but good, well thought out regulation. The regulation is needed to mitigate the pricing abuse that has occurred on multiple fronts due to healthcare being in nearly infinite demand in supply-demand economics. The second is the need for developing and deeply embedded prevent in the provisioning of healthcare. Part of what is required to accomplish this is building incentives for most of the stakeholders in the healthcare system to cater to the needs of prevention, rather than therapeutic intervention. I do not find either of these two items well address in the McCain healthcare plan, but they are both explicitly addressed in the Obama healthcare plan.

    The McCain plan calls for massive deregulation of the insurance industry that would leave families without any premium or coverage protections. In the current issue of a magazine, Senator McCain wrote that we need to open up health care to “more vigorous nationwide competition as we have done over the last decade in banking.” It is appalling to me that, giving the economic crisis that we are in, he wants to deregulate the insurance industry just like he fought to deregulate the banking industry.

  5. This is now issue number one. Time to get behind single-payer and push it through. The nation can not afford the bailout AND profit-driven medicine. Support HR 676, now with 92 cosponsors

    Alex: that McCain quote is a gem. What magazine is it in?

  6. I agree Alex, and I also find it interesting that McCain wants to open up healthcare to the free market. Didn’t we just do that for the banking and credit industries, where socialism had to bail out capitalism? Free market is the last thing health care needs, and John, you are right on with HR676. Got to do it.

    But let me also say that if HR676 passed in congress, I truly think McCain would sign it after seeing all the support from the public.

  7. Jack!
    McCain didn’t even show up to vote for the latest SCHIP bill! A lot of Republicans voted for it and it had huge public support!

  8. I know, John, but both sides have their black marks. If the SCHIP vote was close and McCain’s vote would have swayed it, I am sure he would have shown up.

    The important thing in my view is not how they did in the debates, not the rhetoric they spew, and not how they might have voted in the past. Many votes, on both sides, are political. They vote one way because they have to play ball with their party, but if they really disagreed and their vote is a tie-breaker, they vote their conscious.

    What really matters to me is, if elected, how will someone perform in office. This is McCain’s last hurrah, and I think he wants to leave a good legacy. Once elected he will not bend to the right-wingers, and I think they know it. He doesn’t need their support moving forward.

    So I remain 55-45 in favor of McCain, but I know my vote will not matter. Obama has Wisconsin for sure and likely the rest of the states as well.

  9. Alex Gerwer says:

    John and Jack,

    To be clear, the Obama plan is not single-payer healthcare, which would be similar to having a single, government-controlled bank as a solution to our current financial crisis. Rather, it is a more heterogeneous payer system, but one which puts in place appropriate controls, or checks and balances, on healthcare payers. Admittedly, defining, putting in place, and enforcing appropriate controls on healthcare payers is not a trivial exercise, but it does allow for some level of free-enterprise, while guarding against the exploitation of the near infinite demand for healthcare services which we all experience, particularly when we are in dire healthcare circumstances.

    Alex

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