26 August 2009


There are no plans, nothing anywhere in anyone's proposed legislation, for "government takeover" of the health industry. There ARE plans, though, for the continuance of a near-monopoly of the big half dozen insurance giants. That's why a public option is so crucial: to create some competition in the insurance world. Competition would help to contain prices. Second, why is it WalMart can market some drugs for, say, $4? Because it can buy in such gargantuan bulk, it can dictate prices to the suppliers. There's only one entity that would be larger than WalMart to do the same: a public insurance pool.

Capitalists (the REAL capitalists who actually control hefty capital) want monopolistic conditions and seek to restrict competition for their benefit (while the rest of us hope for a little true competitive capitalism). That's one of its paradoxes: the ideology at street level does not match the natural inclination (and real actions) at the level of the boardroom.

In the case at hand, all the proposals would send windfall profits to the insurance companies, because all the proposals expand coverage (even the Republican proposals), adding coverage to tens of millions of people. Remember: the proposals are not for GOVERNMENT insurance, but for a public-insurance plan or for government payments--to the insurance companies! That's why the insurance companies are generally onboard for nearly all the plans. From where they sit, it looks pretty good for business.

The pharmaceutical companies are onboard for nearly all the plans, because they would be getting increased business by way of more people covered by insurance who would be getting the drugs they need. It also looks pretty good for the drug companies.

Many physicians and medical associations support a public option, because they see they are prevented from practicing good medicine when the insurance companies are calling the shots (good pun!).

81% of the American public wants a public option for health insurance.

So, if the insurance industry knows it would benefit immensely, and big pharma knows it will benefit, and many doctors want freedom from the insurance companies, and most people want a public option, and the only entity capable of containing costs (through competition and the power of bulk-negotion of prices) is a public option--then why all the dissension and huge disinformation campaign about something cleverly labeled as "Obamacare" and "socialized medicine" and a "government takeover" of the health industry? My conclusion is that it is simply a political maneuver to destroy Obama.

I can think of no other reason why spreading fear and disinformation (e.g. death panels, Nazi health plans, euthanasia, robbing medicare, socialized medicine, long wait lines, government takeover, faceless bureaucrats intervening between patient and doctor, rationing of health care) is so important. Remember: EVERY other developed country (each has its own variations), with greater public involvement in health care than we (although we do have public programs in the form of Medicare/Medicaid and the VA system), has arguably, but demonstrably, a more successful health-care system than the U.S. Yet, what we get is widely disseminated disinformation and fearmongering.

Sadly, this climate drives out real discussion--like just how ARE costs going to be contained? I heard that a family of four, who today could be paying as much as $1,000 per month for health insurance, would, by 2020, at the rate health insurance is rising, be paying $20,000 per year. I cannot speak for the veracity of the figures, except that they are extrapolation from now to then.

And, there's little talk about how the public-option plan is ALREADY a compromise. The one that is the most rational and beneficial is the single-payer plan, which takes health care out of the profit-making business. I guess the Obama administration made a tactical decision to go with a compromise.

But, I wonder if they understood the ferocity of the opposition in using the proposed legislation as a sledge hammer to perhaps mortally wound the party in power. Too bad: There are some huge issues looming over the threatening horizon (like Iran, Afghanistan, taxes, the global environment) in which a true public discourse--meaning "real," without the political demonization--is greatly needed. I'm afraid the atmosphere has now been ruined, because some corporate media and political groups understand the power they have for spreading hate and fear, and thus control the votes. We all lose.

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