Friday, March 19, 2010

You Want Choice In Health Care? Here You Go...

We need to reform health care. We have two basic choices: the progressive choice and the right wing/elitist choice:

A. We can choose a system that has been thoroughly tested and works. Every other advanced nation in the world has managed to guarantee universal health care to all of its citizens, and they have done this at up to half the total cost or more than our current system. So we have any number of examples out there to choose from, all of which are more universal and efficient than what we have now. Some of them have been in place for over 100 years. They are proven, and they work.

B. We can try a free market health care system, which has never been tried in a modern advanced economy, and which all reputable economists and experts say will fail miserably at providing universal access and cost savings. It will require us to eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, the VA system, and all insurance, drug, and medical regulations of any kind. People who can't afford care will be left to die or at the mercy of charity hospitals. Insurers will be free to cancel your policy when you get injured or sick; your only remedy will be to sue them to reinstate it, which will hard to do when you're dead. Doctors and hospitals will be free to botch surgeries or mistreat patients without have to deal with pesky malpractice lawsuits. Insurers will write policies that only lawyers can understand, and which say in the fine print that you are covered only as much as they want you to be, and not a dollar more. Anyone with any serious preexisting condition will find themselves completely unable to buy insurance, which means that only the rich will be treated for expensive diseases. 

For your average American, this would be a complete and total disaster. But there is one group who would benefit from such a system: rich Republicans. You see, they run most of the insurance companies and hospitals and drug companies. They would make plenty of money, and so they would be able to afford the best care in the world. They wouldn't even have to share waiting rooms with poor people, or people of color, or any of the other untouchables who are not, as Sarah Palin puts it, "Real Americans."

So it's probably not surprising that rich Republicans oppose any meaningful reform. Oh, sure, the insurance industry is supporting the current bill, but that's only because they helped write it, and made sure that it included provisions to force all Americans to buy their product. So their free-market philosophy was abandoned as soon as they realized that they could make even more money by forcing Americans to buy crappy policies that would never really pay out. They figured that was a hell of a lot better than the European models, which take it for granted that insurance companies should be non-profit at a minimum, and non-existent as an ideal.

Everyone, even Republicans, agree that our system is broken and needs to change. Progressives and, as polls consistently show, most Americans, want option A. Rich Republicans, the corporate medical/industrial complex, and Tea Baggers who believe people should have to die before getting "handouts" want option B.

Go ahead, pick one.

1 comment:

  1. You're right, a free market health care system would fail without gov't regulation to prevent price gouging. Now, if health care costs were sane (due to the gov't watching consumer's backs), it would work. No more would you have to pay $150 for a Tylenol at a hospital and therefore you wouldn't need insurance (imagine health care without insurance). Lets go back 100 years to when doctors accepted cash and upheld their Hippocratic oath. Of course, this will never work because the insurance industry, health care providers, drug makers, medical equipment makers, etc all lobby politicians to keep their system in place as it is so they can reap billions of dollars in profit at the cost of charging $150 for a Tylenol. Lets bring common sense back into health care.

    I want a system that promotes personal responsibility and rewards you when you do good. All insurance does is reward you when you do bad thereby not promoting responsibility. This goes for ALL insurance.