Monday, July 27, 2009

Now is not the Time to Get Cold Feet on Health Care Reform, Especially Since We’re So Close

Just like the groom who likes the way his fiancé looks, but doesn’t like her so much when she opens her mouth, the American people are getting cold feet on health care reform.  Nearly three quarters of Americans love the idea of quality, affordable health care for all.  They understand that the system, as it currently stands, is broken and needs to be fixed.  Start talking about details like overall cost and how we’ll pay for it, and people start to either gloss over, get scared, or get angry. 

Our Government doesn’t help clear the air.  In fact, they’ve made things worse.  Those Congressmen and women fighting to either slow or stop reform, directed by special interests, do a bang up job confusing the issue.  They love to throw up buzz words like the old stalwart, “socialized medicine”, or “DMV” to scare the villagers.  I might as well throw in the media as well, most of which is also owned by the same special interests.  One day, Paper X will run a positive story about how we must have reform.  The next day, Paper X will explain that the world is going to implode around us if we do have reform.  Mix these two factors with the public’s standard mix of apathy and outrage towards Government, and it becomes easy to see how the parking break on reform is getting applied.

Frankly, it doesn’t have to be this hard.  First, level the playing field.  Everybody who wants insurance gets insurance, regardless of history.  That means regulation of the private insurance sector and enact rules every insurer must follow.  Second, everybody has a choice, public or private.  The individual can decide which is better for them.  As for payment, it would remain the same through deductions in our pay check.  If an individual likes the private plan, deduct the payment from the check.  Everybody knows that, right?  Want the public plan?  Choose it and have the premium taken from your check, just like the private option everybody already knows.  Like gas stations on opposite corners of the street, their prices and care will be nearly identical and will improve because if an insurer wants business, they’ll need to be better.  As for those that cannot afford coverage, they will automatically covered by the public option, which I think should be paid for by letting the $1.35 trillion Bush tax cuts expire.

The reason it’s so hard is because there are too many interests getting paid vast sums of money to keep things the way things are.  But just like the US auto industry, who lobbied for years to keep fuel mileage standards obscenely low, these special interests do so at their, and the country’s, peril.  Back in June, the Economist said:

AMERICA'S health-care system is the costliest in the world, gobbling up about 16% of the country’s economic output. Comparisons with other rich countries and within the United States show that its system is not only growing at an unsustainable pace, but also provides questionable value for money and dubious medical care.

They also ran this handy chart:


Yep, we’re number 1…number 1 at ineffectively spending money on health care. 

I understand that this is a big leap.  On this subject, now is not the time to fear the unknown.  If mankind always feared the unknown, we’d still be throwing rocks at running game and living in caves.  We simply cannot continue this way.  Do not allow the noise to stop us. 

Here, I offer this document from Michael Moore that reminds us why we need to fix this system, and with all the noise, we definitely need to be reminded from time to time:

Sicko Factoids

A trillion thanks to my new research assistant Firstdaughter, who gave up the Economist and the Michael Moore facts.

1 comment:

  1. Very well said. What's to be afraid of?

    Let's talk about this: The last time there was a general strike in this country, it led to the 8 hour day and 5 day workweek. Now is the time for Healthcare.

    I suggest Sept 3&4 on the leadup to the Labor Day holiday weekend.

    No leaders, no organizers, no rallies (unless you want one) and no hidden agendas. Just don't go to work.

    Here's my short blog about it.