Keep in Mind

I have another rant on health insurance in the works, but in the meantime, take a look at what Joshua Holland writes at AlterNet. As we clamor for “single payer” — and I’ve done as much clamoring as anyone, I suspect — keep in mind that very few of the nations with national health care have pure “single payer” systems. Most of them, including France, have systems in which a private health insurance market still functions, I suppose for people who want the hospital suite with gold-plated bathroom fixtures. Whatever.

Anyway, Holland argues there should not be a war between single payer and public option advocates.

8 thoughts on “Keep in Mind

  1. I would agree with that, but a couple of points. First is that an objection to single payer not even being allowed in the discussion is a valid objection. That may not be the plan we want, it may not be a perfect plan, but we should not rule it out of the discussion. A great many Americans have indicated that they want it.

    Second, the plan that is being put forth, even with the “public option,” does not constitute the “fundamental reform” of our healthcare system that Obama is claiming for it. It does not constitute reform at all, as all it does is extend health insurance to those who do not have it. It is a system still vulnerable to gaming by the insurance companies and health provider industries, and those who are being bankrupted by health crisis despite having health insurance will still be bankrupted by health crisis. There will still be people who do not go to the doctor because they cannot afford the $500 deductible and so will never reach the point at which their insurance will pay for a doctor visit.

    Reform, real reform, means eliminating a system that allows insurance to collect premiums and then manufacture ways to not provide the medical service that the insured person has been paying for. This sham of a reform package does not even begin to address that issue.

  2. Thank you for the link to Holland’s article. I think this sentence from the article sums things up very neatly:

    “When we talk about single-payer, what we’re really saying is that guaranteeing access to decent health care — just like sanitation and clean water or electricity — should be considered a fundamental duty of the state.”

    That, to me, is the bottom line. Sadly, your lawmakers are far from understanding this simple notion.

  3. Bill H covered it. And I’ll add that in a nut shell the government (our tax dollars) will be paying, subsidizing, big insurance to insure those of us who can’t afford to insure ourselves. Exorbitant costs will continue the only difference being that we’ll pay them in taxes rather than directly to the health insurance consortia.

    And it wouldn’t surprise me that the set up will mirror Medicare Part D, a cash-cow for big pharma which in order for big pharma to condescend to allow its passage, the government had to give up the bargaining power it once had on the prices of drugs.

  4. They fear competition even if it is those whom insurance companies would never insure. They salivate at the possibility of more profit and feel denied that a new flow of cash would come into existence that does not flow through them. I suspect that they even worrry about government sponsored cmoparitive studies on treatment effectiveness because of the way that they get kickbacks for services, particularly some of the higher prices/less effective ones. They fear, but can never allow that fear to be demonstrated publicly, that a not-for-profit might undercut their huge profits.

    Any way you look at it they stand to lose one thing or another. There is nothing they won’t stoop to and no pot shot they will not make at a single payer option. They will fight tooth and nail to kill it in its infancy because it offers them absolutely nothing and has considerable downsides.

    They don’t want to be exclusive insurers of the rich. They want it all, even if it means many must go uninsured and even die.

    Is this not obvious?

  5. “There are very few health care advocates who will tell you that a single-payer health care system is not the correct remedy for the U.S. health care crisis. What they instead will say is that single-payer is dead politically, and that Obama and the progressive Democrats’ public option is the only politically viable option.”

    from Alternet

    Single-payer make perfect sense. The idea of single-payer would fly but you can’t possibly get it off the ground. Only 30% of Americans are uninsured and most of the 70% who have insurance are satisfied. Most people who DO have insurance would like to cover the 30% who do NOT have insurance. But they are not ready to give up something that works for them.

    Obama has repeated over and over; “If you like the insurance you have, you can keep it with no changes.” Obama is not trying to please BCBS; he’s takinng away the rope the insurance industry would lunch him with. If Obama tried take away private health insurace from every American and replace it with single-payer, the bill would die in Congress.

    Look at the alternative – get health care through with a public option. If the public option works better and costs less, individuals and business will switch over to the better, cheaper option over time You get to single payer – but it will happen gradually and by choice. We all remember a time when computers and cell phones were toys for geeks or the rich. The key is an affordable public option that works. EVERYTHING else will follow.

  6. Not a war, no, but I think it should be a major argument. It should be so big and so loud that all the pundits are forced to do long columns and radio and TV shows asking which one, single-payer or some other Euro-style system, should be put in place here. Like having umpteen varieties of Oreaos on the shelves, it should crowd out all other options in the debate.

    Then no matter which we ended up with it would be far better than what we have now.

  7. Today one of the repugs I work with said if we have national health care, they will limit treatments of breast cancer on women 55 and older, would I like that? I replied, I can’t even afford to have my eyes dilated during an eye exam because I couldn’t afford any problem that may be discovered. Then he said the Canadians and British have lots of people not getting the care they need and I told him I knew both Canadians and British people that were very happy with their health care.

    Some days I think we will at least get a national health care option, other days, I think the smear job of the people making money will take away any chance.
    I heard they were spending millions on capital hill.

  8. See? This is why I think Obama is great. He said We can put healthcare off for another day like we have so many issues or we can step up to the responsibility.
    I thank his Mom, I thank his Grandma and anyone else who influenced him.
    I am really mad that all of these issues have been ignored or put off for so long until now everything needs to be done yesterday.

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