Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Be$t Health Care Money Can Buy

If you do not think that our current health care system is irrevocably broken do not waste your time reading this post. Instead here is a link to Rush Limbaugh's web page. Go there instead.

I have been amazed at the hysteria created by the monied interest here in America regarding not only Obama but health care reform. The only thing more surprising is the number of people of much more modest means who act against their own best interest and fight health care reform. I finally decided to write something after what happened tonight.

I was out walking the dogs tonight and found this flyer attached (illegally) to a utility pole so on behalf of the people I confiscated it in the name of the Socialist Party of Greater North America (just kidding,... as far as I know there is no such thing but somebody will believe it anyway):

Oh my goodness. Obama's fiendish plan is to make this a socialist paradise like North Korea?! People will believe anything. It is interesting, albeit scary, to know that many people think that President Obama is a secret Muslim and/or a person who was not even born in this country. What is really weird is some of the stuff I have heard on television from "concerned citizens" who "on their own" have shown up at town hall meetings to demonstrate that in America you really can say almost any damn fool thing you want. Here are my two favorite:

1. Lady stands up with a clip board, somehow the clip board is important I think, and informs us that if the President's health care reform passes that it will "increase abortion by 30%." Humm. How do we know that? Let me state for the record that I am against abortion but I am also consistent in being against the death penalty but I digress.

2. Another older woman stands up and with a shaky voice, full of equal parts fear and rage, declares that she does not want the government to "decide when I die." Interesting. I did not know that. I did not know that as part of the health care plan we are going to just kill old people to save money. Well, as a person who gets older each and every day and who is related to many old people that I love I am against it! I say lets just cross the killing old people out of the plan - I think it was a bad idea in the first place.

Of course there is the famous incident with Senator Arlen Specter when a devout Christian in the loving spirit of Christianity told him:

"One day God's going to judge you, and he's going to judge you, and the rest of your damned cronies on the Hill and then you can get your just deserts."

That incident of grace and loving kindness is depicted on the following video:

Many Americans are angry and feeling sorry for themselves and it is these very people who elected George Bush twice. That anger is fueled by the Tea Party gang and the rest of the ultra-conservative right who make their living by being rabble rousers appealing to the most base of emotions and calling it a virtue when in reality it very much something else. They spread innuendo, fear, gossip, and outright falsehoods and call it truth. However, that is the subject of a whole new post.

Our current system is good if your healthy and/or if you have money. If you are poor and sick it goes downhill pretty fast. Why? Let me give you a lesson in business. Insurance companies are not here to give Grandpa Bob a pace maker, or to cure Little Sue's cancer. Nope. They exist to make money and the more money they have to pay out to sick people the worse their profit margins. If I was an insurance executive I would hate sick people and avoid them at all cost. As a matter of fact insurance companies are pretty good at avoiding sick people. They are clever ferreting out pre-existing conditions, and if you get sick they will start raising your premiums in order to drive you out. Insurance companies are not your friend and they begrudge each and every penny they pay out on you. Insurance companies operate on greed rather than faith, hope, and charity.

Obama's health care reform strategy has been to let a consensus build to do something and he knows that whatever plan for change we come up with will be neither perfect, not maintenance free. It will have to be adjusted and modified as we find out where the flaws are. What he knows is that this is an existential battle and if big money wins again we are in for another twenty years are so with a system that is good for certain businesses and bad for everyone else.

Think about this. There are some things that government should be involved in. What if you had to buy police protection insurance or the cops would not show up when you called? What if the courts would not prosecute people who committed crimes against you because that was not covered in your police protection insurance policy? What if your policy for police insurance did not cover misdemeanors but only felony crimes against you or if you were only allowed three calls to the police a year and after that you had to pay for it out of your own pocket? Then there is fire protection. What if you were required to have fire protection insurance in order for the fire department to respond to a fire at your home? What if you could not afford fire protection insurance so nobody would come to put out your house fire when you called 911 but they would come to prevent the fire from spreading to your neighbors house in the event they were insured? Communities and governments realize that it is in the best interest of everyone to provide police and fire protection to everyone. Shouldn't health care be one of those things that a civilized and humane society provides to its citizens?

Maybe a government sponsored health care plan, or some other kind of truly equitable plan for health care, is something democracies do for their people. Maybe it has nothing to do with socialism but rather responsible and responsive government for the people, by the people and of the people? I think that is the case. If you do not believe me make a comparison with China.

The largest remaining Communist country in the world (although it is really an oligarchy and there has never been a true communist country since they all end up being ran by tyrants or elites), China, has a horrible health care system that requires you pay as you go with no safety net for health care for the poor to speak of. Paradoxically, communist China has deliberately picked a market-based health care system just like us. So maybe a public health care system and socialism are not necessarily synonymous. But, maybe a market-based health care system and control by an elite are?

No comments: