A Votre Sante 6/19/09

Lots of talk is swirling around health care reform. Everyone seems to have an opinion and those with the means to promote theirs are now actively seeking to persuade and influence the public, many of whom do not fully understand just how our health care system works. People with a vested interest in maintaining insurance industry profits deride the single payer option as government control over health care. They say the government will come between you and your doctor in the sensitive area of determining what care is needed. They say there will be rationing and waiting lines. This is clearly the pot calling the kettle black. We already have non-medical personnel in the form of insurance actuaries determining what procedures can be done and we already have rationed care from insurance companies in the form of rejections due to preexisting conditions and from managed care conglomerates choosing which doctors we can see. We already have long waiting lines for specialized care in America. What single payer does not have is almost 30% administrative costs.

Single payer, simply told, is merely a different way to finance health care. If you were to finance a car and were told you had two choices, one in which 25% of your payment went to administrative costs and one in which 3 % went to those same costs which would you choose. I believe any sane person would choose the plan where more of his payment went to actually paying off the principle and interest. As long as the powerful interests of the insurance industry, big Pharma and managed care companies can hoodwink us into continuing to justify people making profit from financing and providing health care then we will get a broken system. Does the fire department make a profit? Do we not pay for fire protection, hoping we will never use it, but feeling good when our neighbor does, regardless of their economic status? What is the difference between fire protection and health care? Simply put, we have come to see fire protection as a right of all citizens. We have yet to see health care in the same light, largely because it has traditionally been a privileged commodity, subject to the profit driven market, which the wealthy can afford and the poor cannot.

People would be outraged if their neighbor’s home was allowed to burn because they could not afford fire protection insurance. Until we see health care as one of our inalienable rights we will not be able to reform it to the degree that it will cease becoming a greater and greater economic burden. Ask why we are the only major nation in the world without a national health plan and we only need look as far as the continued greed of the insurance industry. If we continue to allow the profiteers to define the health care debate I am afraid we will never get the kind of health care reform we deserve.

Makes for a very sick nation.

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