Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wealth Insurance vs. "Promote the General Welfare"

The public would find it edifying if the media always included the amount of health insurance campaign contributions any member of Congress received, every time they talk about the health care reform -- especially when it comes time for a vote. It could be right next to their political party and state -- so the American voters can connect the dots.  

Some time ago Congress turned over the health care of its citizens to for-profit corporations with the mistaken belief that "free market" would provide low cost/high quality health care. It's been decades now and every year those with health insurance have turned over an increasingly larger percentage of their hard-earned income to profit-driven health insurance corporations only to get less coverage, more claim denial and pay more out of pocket. Congress knows this yet every year neglects to provide more than lip service to their constituents while the health insurance companies thrive, deliver higher investor returns and astronomical CEO salaries. This is not free market, it's criminal. The free-market theory hasn't worked for health insurance just as cutting taxes and the "trickle-down" theories haven't helped the economy. Medicare needs to be opened to anyone in order to create a level playing field for the American people.  

The concept of triggers is a ruse. Health insurance companies will wriggle out of legal constraints or mandates by dragging the whole concept through the courts, further delaying health care reform. The health insurance industry has had more than 15 years to fix their punitive policies and practices since the Clinton administration tried to pass universal health care. The health insurance industry knew they'd dodged a bullet then and had the opportunity to self-regulate and reform knowing this issue would not go away. Nevertheless, they chose to conduct business as usual. The insurance industry is no more willing or able to regulate itself than the banks or any profit-driven corporation. Expecting corporations to deliver affordable health care over profits is like accepting a ride across a flooding river on the back of a crocodile and expecting it not to eat you. Health insurers are corporations are and will always be driven by profits.  

Medicare must be opened to the public or a non-profit public option created that will provide affordable health insurance coverage and real competition to corporations. Nothing less can, to quote the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, "promote the general welfare" of American citizens and nothing else is worthy of the American people.

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