… and veto anything without a strong public option.
By Jack E. Lohman
President Obama’s heart believes that single-payer healthcare would be the best thing that could happen to this country, and he’s right. Not just by extending coverage from 85% to 100% of the people, but also by removing the health care burden from our nation’s businesses.
Health care premiums comprise 15% of a corporation’s total employee costs… $6500 per employee per year average. And because it is cheaper to send their manufacturing to countries that already have universal health care, many have done so. The Big Three now make more cars in Canada than we do in Detroit, all while we smarties watch our job market erode.
At least our non-insurance business leaders should be irate, as should the workers who have lost or will lose their jobs.
But Obama’s head is hearing something else… like “Hey Buddy, you don’t have the power you thought you’d have as president; the insurance industry owns your congressmen!”
Which they do, and they didn’t come cheap. You’ve got to give them that.
What is single-payer?
That’s us, the taxpayers. We now fund a single system that efficiently pays our private doctor and hospital bills. But “Medicare” is limited to seniors and the handicapped, though 60-70% of us (and 59% of doctors) want to put every citizen into the system and eliminate employer coverage and bureaucracy waste. It’s the same care, just a different payment process. It is funded by our national infrastructure through taxes, which despite its efficiency riles the right wing.
It also riles the insurance industry, so they’re paying our politicians big bucks to keep it off the table. And it’s working. In 2008 alone the politicians pocketed $46 million in contributions, an investment that has paid handsome dividends to the industry.
Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats — both heavy recipients of campaign cash — have also loaded up the alternate “public option” with stupid, killer features. It’s the old “divide and conquer and confuse” game, and it is working to the detriment of the public. That’s not good, but it’s not supposed to be.
What is a “robust” public option?
Well, it could be most anything by the time special interests get their due. Obviously some things the insurance industry would be happy with, like a mandate that 100% of the uninsured or unemployed purchase one of their policies. And if you can’t afford the premiums, the taxpayers will provide a subsidy.
This would be a very STUPID thing to do, because not only would the taxpayers be subsidizing the industry, your politician would be getting a piece of the action. That’s why they always prefer private over public, don’cha know?
And they’d just love it if companies were mandated to provide coverage to all employees. Aren’t mandates just great? If this passes congress, I plan to move my investments to insurance… their shareholders will be sitting on top of the world.
No, “robust” means that it would compete with, not pad the pockets of the insurers. And if private really is more efficient than public, as conservatives claim, private will win the competition. What’s not to like about that?
But it isn’t. Private Medicare Advantage programs already cost taxpayers 17% more than the public Medicare system. And though Medicare isn’t perfect, it’s a lot better than the privates.
At the very least congress should allow companies and individuals to opt into the VA or Medicare system and pay their costs, but that again draws business from their loyal campaign contributors and likely won’t happen.
Our problem isn’t really health care, because if it were we’d fix it overnight. Our problem is a corrupt political system fueled by insurance industry campaign contributions. There are so many stupid requirements in the congressional plan which were deliberately planted to ensure failure, that it should indeed fail and we should reset to zero.
If we are going to do this, let’s do it right.
— The good news is that the political corruption seen during the health care debate blew a big hole in our esteemed congressmen’s Holy shell. People now get it. When health care got hijacked by the insurance CEOs, all because the payola prompted a mass, coordinated rollover by congressmen, people’s blood started boiling. Great! We needed that.
— Also remember that no matter how flowery your letters from Sens. Kohl or Feingold, they have NOT signed on as a cosponsor to Bernie Sanders’ SB703, which essentially results in a rollover to the insurance industry.
— Remember this? Feds must prohibit oil “speculation”… Speculating is and was 100% our problem… February 12, 2009 … Well now we have action: “The chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission signaled Tuesday that his agency is likely to limit financial speculators’ ability to drive up prices for oil and other fuels.”