Insurance Reform Hokum


     What the hell are you smoking? The proposed health care program allows everybody who has commercial health insurance to keep what they've got if they like what they've got. But it prevents insurers from denying coverage to individuals, and keeps people from losing coverage if they lose their jobs, or move from one job to another. What's Communist about that?

     I keep seeing different numbers, ranging from 43 million to 50 million Americans who have no health insurance, or too little. Many, many because they don't have employer-paid insurance, or because they bloody well can't afford to pay for it. That's something I know about very well--I haven't had health insurance for 23 years,. because I don't make enough money to pay the premiums. My sister's employer doesn't provide health insurance, and she doesn't make enough money to buy it for herself. If either of us (or as many as 50 million other Americans) get seriously sick or injured, we're screwed, because we can't pay for care. The public option in the proposed plan will take care of these people. If you think that having one in six Americans without medical coverage is a good thing, and providing them with coverage is bad, then, yes, I guess the proposed plan does sound Communist, or at least un-American.

     Now, a goodly number of the as-many-as 50 million uninsured/underinsured can afford to buy insurance but choose not to. The legislation requires those people to buy insurance. That should lower rates because more people will be paying into the pot.

     There is a lot of "disinformation" (lies) being bandied about regarding the public option. First off, if you've got coverage and like it, you don't have to go into the public option. Second, there are the claims that the public option will put bureaucrats between you and your doctor, making medical decisions that might not be to your benefit. Say what? What the hell do you think the current system does? Bureaucrats in the employ of insurance companies frequently limit or even deny coverage for procedures or other necessary treatments. The cost of medical care is the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the country. What's Communist here?

     The public option that President Obama wants is very similar to the plan Congress has. It's very much like Medicare for everybody. Is this Communist? If it is, then Congress and old folks are dirty Commies.

     There are wild claims about how much the plan will cost. I already said how getting more people into the insurance pool will lower costs. While its true that Medicare is facing serious money problems over the next generation, it's also true that the cost of Medicare is rising much slower than the price of commercial insurance. Something that's seldom mentioned is the large number of people who use hospital emergency rooms as their primary care providers--because they can't afford doctors. That's the most expensive way to give care. If those people have coverage that will allow them to go to doctors, that will greatly reduce the use of emergency rooms, and the excess expense incured by people using them for primary care. Communist? Really?

     Another point on costs. Drug companies charge more for the drugs they sell in the US than they do for the exact same drugs they sell in other countries. How come?

     Are you aware that medical care costs more per person in America than anywhere else in the world? Do you know that America is the only industrialized country in the world that doesn't have some form of universal coverage? Or that overall health, as measured by life expectancy, is higher in most other industrialized nations?

     That's enough of a rant for now.


     That may have been enough of a rant for then, it's not enough for now.

     In my email to Sean, I mentioned Politifact and FactCheck. Their URLs are Politifact, and

     Politifact is put out by the St. Petersburg Times, and FactCheck is from the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Both analyze claims put out by Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Liberals, and those anonymous emails that we all get. They're non-partisan. It doesn't matter where on the political spectrum a claim originates, if it's true they say so, if it's not they say so. The front page of each site today (August 7, 2009) has articles that take both sides of the health/insurance reform debate to task for falsehoods. I urge you to check the sites out, and subscribe to them—the subscriptions are free.

     CNN has been covering the disruptions at Town Hall meetings being put on by members of Congress. I've been rather boggled by the number of people shouting down the Congressmen about "government-run, socialized medicine" who appear to be of an age to be covered by Medicare. Ah, aren't they aware that their Medicare is "government-run, socialized medicine?" So are Medicaid and the VA hospital system. I don't hear any of these people demanding that Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA hospital system be shut down in favor of privately-purchased, commercial, for-profit insurance programs.

     This morning, it's still August 7, 2009, I saw on CNN someone at a Town Hall meeting yelling that government should get out of the insurance business and let the free market run health insurance.


     Isn't that part of the problem? Except for Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA hospital system, the free market is running the health insurance system. It's the free market, not the government, that has health insurance premiums rising at a multiple of inflation. It's the free market that drops people from coverage, or uses fine print to limit coverage. It's partially because of the free market that as many as one in six Americans either doesn't have insurance or has too little.

     Or was the yelling man I saw on CNN advocating that the government kill off Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA hospital system in favor of throwing millions of people into the for-profit insurance pool, insurance that many of them can't afford? Can you imagine the turmoil that would cause?

     There are several more items of "disinformation" that I've seen over the past couple of days. But they're covered on the front pages of Politifact, and FactCheck, so I'll just refer you to them rather than summarize those items here.