We’ve been hearing a lot of blather lately about how our national budget is so stretched and our deficit is so huge that we either must raise taxes or cut entitlements or a combination of both. Much of this debate pretends there doesn’t exist any solution to high health care costs other than reducing benefits to those who aren’t yet on the doorstep of Medicare eligibility. And that’s exactly the way the health insurance lobby wants it. While lobbyists spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually bribing our elected officials and successfully steering them away from any solution that would involve eradicating health insurance companies, people are going bankrupt, losing their homes, and making “Sophie’s choices” between food and rent. President Obama, who was once for “Single Payer Health Care,” now says that he doesn’t want to disrupt health care as we know it by radically changing our health care delivery system. That’s code for “I can’t do anything to successfully combat the economic clout of the health insurance lobby, so let’s just try to do what little we can to incrementally improve this broken system.”
Just what is the purpose of health insurance companies, anyway? Are they not in business to make a profit? And if that’s what they’re in business to do, what kind of coverage do they really want to offer their customers? I would argue that these companies have teams of lawyers and accountants staying up late at night–every night–trying to figure out how to make sure they provide as little coverage as is legally possible. An essential part of this plan is to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to demonize the very concept of a health care system that would be administered by state or federal governments. After all, if they can make government itself the bad guy most of their work is done for them. Tea Party members have, with the aid of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etal, latched on to this mantra, “private enterprise is good, government is bad,” with a vengeance. Yet within the last couple of weeks polls have indicated that even Tea Party members don’t want their Medicare tampered with, whether they’re getting it now or on the verge of getting it within the next couple of decades. Soon, I hope, this huge health insurance lobby con will be exposed to enough light to expose the truth, that health insurance companies are simply the price-gauging middle men standing between you and your doctor as the real death panels preventing you from receiving the care you deserve at an affordable price. Quality health care should be a right for all citizens, not a privilege for the select few who can afford it. Perhaps it’ll take millions of more bankruptcies and foreclosures for this message to get across to the general public. Perhaps then even Fox News and Ann Coulter won’t be able to convince Americans that government itself isn’t the bad guy, that maybe Single Payer Health Care can be as effective as Medicare is to the people who currently depend on it in an otherwise financially perilous world. I know I’d rather pay a little more in taxes to the federal or state government rather than pay high premiums to insurance companies who are forever inventing ways to escape covering me. Don’t fall for the big con.