Sunday, September 6, 2009

Health-care reform or health-insurance reform?

Obama is set give a big speech this Wednesday on reforming healthcare in this country. While healthcare was supposed to be his most important priority, and he has been talking about it throughout the campaign and over the last 6 months, we still know remarkably little about what he really wants. This is will change Wednesday, and we will know if he is with them or us. Many of you here may be a little uneasy about those "black and white" or "divisive" terms but let me explain. There is really only one long-term solution to the healthcare crisis in this country, and that is the destruction of the health insurance companies and the implementation of a single-payer program, or "Medicare for all." For some reason, which I will never understand, progressive and liberal leaders in this country gave up on the most direct, simple to explain, cheapest, solution to healthcare without one shot fired. Progressive caucus leaders in the House shunned advocating for this, because it wasn’t "politically practical," in other words they were cowards. They pushed for something called a "public option" which is program that was originally dreamt up by Jacob Hacker that would include over 100 million Americans and would use Medicare rates. And the reality is that if something like this was actually implemented the insurers would go out like a light. Let me repeat that, any well done "Public option" will take out private insurers. This is why the insurers hate is so much, and why they will fight it tooth and nail, because it looks just as bad as a single payer plan to them. Now, here's the truth, nothing like the public option that I just illustrated above is currently in any of the bills in congress. A couple of them have a half-assed "public option" that will be just as expensive as private insurance and will only allow 10 million into the program. But a program with only 10 million (not everyone can join) can never compete with private insurance. Public competition with the private sector was the way to drive down costs, but if you don’t have a real public option, then cost will continue to rise. Now here the second part, most bills in congress have what is called an "insurance mandate" this means that everyone has to buy insurance, and for the vast majority of us, that means private insurance. Private insurance, which has costs that continue to rise, because there is no real competition, like in the form of a real public option. Most bankruptcies in this country are a result of medical bills. An individual insurance mandate would be an indirect regressive tax on the American people, and a giant bailout for the insurance companies. It would condemn us to put our heads into the jaws of a shark and pay for the privilege. That is what happens when there is no real public option. So, what will Obama say on Wednesday? All signs point to him not committing to real alternative for Americans, but instead committing us to buy expensive private insurance. Of course he will dress up his speech with a lot of bullshit about looking at both perspectives and so on, but we know that this problem is not so complicated in the end. I believe that this is his Waterloo, his make or break moment, and on Wednesday we will know where his allegiances are.

2 comments:

Henry Vasquez said...

Sheryl Stolberg seems a bit more optimistic.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/health/policy/09assess.html?_r=3&hp

I think there's still a good chance of a decent plan. Obama really wants to get re-elected. He cannot afford to lose his base.

blakey said...

Maybe. He hasnt seemed to care what his base has wanted so far, but the flip side of this is that Obama also really doesnt want to lose all the insurence campian contributions to the Republicans. we will learn more tonight.