Friday, June 12, 2009

113 Million Reasons Why Not

The need for health care reform in America is obvious. It's long past time for action, yet Washington has been paralyzed. The fact that 46 million Americans are without health insurance and some 28 million are underinsured has yet to stir the nation's politicians.

The fact that insurance costs have played no small role in the demise of the American automobile industry has yet to infuse them with the courage of conviction.

The fact that providing health coverage is a crushing burden to small businesses that is stunting the growth of the national economy's most powerful engine hasn't done the trick either.

Why not?

Oh, the politicians in Washington have their reasons. Millions of them. Like the $47 million in campaign contributions federal candidates received from the insurance industry in 2008 alone. And the $29 million in donations pharmaceutical companies gave to federal politicians for last year's election. And then there's the nearly $23 million national office seekers got in 2008 from the hospitals and other for-profit health facilities. Another $14 million was dumped into campaign coffers last year by the HMOs and other health service gatekeepers.

That's a total of $113 million. One hundred and thirteen million reasons why Washington hasn't yet been moved by the heart-wrenching stories of countless people dying needlessly for lack of access to medical care and countless others driven to financial ruin simply because they had the misfortune of getting sick.

One hundred and thirteen million reasons why the best and most efficient solution to our country's broken health care system has been kept off the table.

One hundred and thirteen million reasons why the richest nation on earth turns a blind eye to pain and suffering and economic calamity, and why its leaders put the profits of the few ahead of the needs of the many.


Jack Lohman said...

Excellent post, Mike. Like all issues, this one is battling the massive campaign contributions from the medical complex, especially the insurance industry because they know they are the one aspect not needed in the system and are therefore prone to elimination. Of course they don't want that, and that they have $46 million in excessive profits to give to the politicians should be telling enough.

What is puzzling is why WMC and its board have taken a position not in the best interest of their members, but of course part of their membership are insurers and they also sell health insurance.

But clearly the business Community must get behind single-payer health insurance. It is vitally important if we are going to correct the economy and let business be more competitive with foreign companies.

Jack Lohman

loninappleton said...


Good to see you in here on this. I have stated repeatedly that the frame of the debate has to be changed from so-called "health care reform" to "universal single payer health care for Americans."

So long as the press and Republicans and Democrats are using the phrase "health care reform" they are using the insurance company's message. This means that the insurance companies still have control of the message not unlike talking about "the death tax" and other tropes from the likes of Frank Luntz the campaign strategist.

Frank Luntz says in his writings,
"It's not what I say, it's what you hear." Insurance companies perform no health care. The subject must be universal single payer health care only. That includes WDC.

Clyde Winter said...

Thanks, Mike, and Jack, for your persistent work to help us get a government that is of, by, and for the people, instead of government that is by and for the corporations and the lobbyists. And thank you, Mike for this particular post connecting the dots between the health care crisis and the legalized bribery that so corrupts what should be our government.

Administration and management of our health care system by the health insurance industry, based on business decisions made by employers, is irrational, inefficient, wasteful, costly, and results in unnecessary suffering and loss of life.

The irresponsible and failed administration of health care by insurance corporations has resulted in a consistent decline in health care outcomes for American families since the mid-twentieth century, when compared to the health care outcomes performance of at least 37 other nations of the world, while now costing Americans twice as much per capita as the costs in those 37 countries. And all those countries provide guaranteed comprehensive health care for all, without threat of personal bankruptcy accompanying serious illness or injury in the family.

Health care in the United States has become a cruel game of Russian roulette, under the administration of the insurance industry. In America, under the present administration, the employer gets to choose what health care "plan" (if any) to offer your family, and the insurance company gets to choose the fine print, loopholes, limitations, exemptions, annual and lifetime limits, pre-existing conditions, pre-treatment approval, acceptable doctors and facilities, acceptable treatment plans, and deductible and co-pay amounts, that may or may not result in your family getting the health care you need, or sinking beneath the surface financially.

The irresponsible, failed, and rapidly deteriorating performance of the entire rolling-in-record-profits health insurance industry in administering our health care (measured against the yardstick of the best interests of the people) makes one thing crystal clear:

We need health care, but
we don't need health insurance.

More explicitly:
We do not need "affordable health insurance mandated for everybody". Only the health insurance corporations, their major stockholders and top executives "need" that.
We need "comprehensive health care guaranteed for all", administered in the best interests of the people, and the doctors and nurses and professionals who provide it with integrity.

And the stark simple truth (proven beyond question in the United States, as well as in all the other modern countries of the world today) is that comprehensive health care guaranteed for all, administered by a government that is of, by, and for the people, costs less, and provides better health care outcomes, than does our present health care system, distorted and hamstrung as it is by a multitude of competing private corporations administering it for profit.

That's right. Experience in America and around the world over the last four generations has proven that providing health care that is "needed" by you (and by everyone in your family, and by everyone in the nation), as determined by you and the doctors chosen by you, on the basis of medical assessment, is LESS costly than is providing only the health care that is "deserved", as determined by your remaining financial resources.

Those who do not want to regard health care as a basic human right must be willing (for themselves and our country) to PAY MORE and SACRIFICE MORE for the questionable privilege of denying that human right.

Anonymous said...

Nubmber One. If we are the richest nation in the world why do we owe China?
Number two. The only cure for is end privitisation of the healthcare. People who want free healthcare should go to County Owned hospitals. It worked for hundreds of years. Then doctors can be independent again and they will make medical decisions not the clown writing the check. Look what privitization of our justice system. With the massive amount of damage done to generations of our youth by a out of control judiciary. Ruining generations of good people. County owned hospitals with free healtcare for all. Privitazation does great harm and is unconstitutional.