By Michael Haughey, June 12, 2009
We are in the middle of an epic struggle in the U.S. between The People and Corporate Insurance. The People, or We The People as used in the U.S. Constitution, is basically comprised of the humans who inhabit the United States of America. Depending upon how the issue is ultimately decided, the group may or may not include visitors and/or residents who are not citizens. Corporate Insurance is an odd one. It doesn’t really have as constituents any real people. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that corporations have the rights of people including the right to say just about anything they want even if it is not true, and that the use of money is essentially the equivalent to the use of a voice. The health insurance system as evolved in the U.S. has become primarily a health care denial system.
Recent rate increases coupled with higher “out-of-pocket” annual maximums, coupled also with lower percentages paid by insurance, and further coupled with fewer and fewer categories and specifics of care that are actually covered, have resulted in a system that fewer and fewer people can actually afford to use even if they DO have the insurance. Pay for preventive care? Forget it. So who, really, are the constituents? Would that include the upper level managers and executives? Perhaps some can afford their part of the health care costs when something serious happens, but they’ll find they are paying through the nose for something they thought the insurance company would cover. Those at the top? They probably can afford to pay for their health care even without the insurance. So neither of these groups are really constituents. What about employees of insurance companies? Do they get a good health care plan, like the one the U.S. Congress gets? So who are the constituents? How about the uber-wealthy owners of and investors in the insurance corporations? Wealthy owners do stand to make profits from denial care. Investors, such as 401k and retirement account customers are also potential recipients of the health care denial system. So while one hand giveth the other taketh away. Thus a few uber-wealthy and the non-human person of the corporation are the only identifiable true constituents. Yet to watch Congress you would think that ALL of their constituents are screaming that they must not consider the one system that would actually be good for We The People.
Could it be that political donations and financial threats are the real constituents? That tells us one thing. Our voices in demanding Universal Public-Funded Single-Payer User-Selected Provider Basic Health Care must be so loud and so insistent that members of congress can’t even hear the money talking above the din.
What about a Public Insurance Option? I listened (briefly due to my schedule) to Thom Hartmann and Bernie Sanders discussing the issue on the radio (Thom Hartmann & Bernie Sanders on Single-Payer: http://www.thomhartmann.com/2009/06/08/june-12th-2009-friday/ ). And let me say for the record that I am eternally grateful for the knowledge and insight and courage of both individuals. One idea they seemed to support (and I’m paraphrasing) is that a Public Insurance Option now would lead to the obvious result that single-payer would come to be better understood and seen as very favorable to the out-competed insurance options. My expectation is this: the forces of corporate Insurance, with their Supreme Court-given “right” to speak with money and to speak less than the truth, and with their substantial financial resources, will do what is necessary to “win”. The humans they hire are very bright and will be formidable adversaries in this struggle. Further, they will find a way to skim the better-off individuals from the public option, thus making the public option appear to be less effective.
Now is the time, perhaps the only time in the life of the members of We The People living today, to finally enact a health care system worthy of a developed country, just as all other developed countries have done. Lose this opportunity now and we lose the opportunity for generations of Americans to have reasonable health care. Remember that the corporate media will be of little help, even though most of their employees, just like the insurance company employees, are also at the mercy of the health denial system
For a discussion of the Single Payer option as it might be gaining traction in Congress, and others who support it, see the article “The Rise of Single-Payer Health Care”, by David Swanson, truthout: http://www.truthout.org/061209R . As the article explains, it is especially important to apply pressure to the U.S. Senate. Phone calls may be the most effective, but don’t discount standing on street corners. Attend town hall meetings and more. But if you stand on a street corner, make sure a photographer gets video posted on the Internet. Don’t expect any favorable coverage from corporate media. Note to corporate media – please prove me wrong! Do what is right.
Let me repeat: Our voices in demanding Universal Public-Funded Single-Payer User-Selected Provider Basic Health Care must be so loud and so insistent that members of congress can’t even hear the money talking above the din. We must act now.
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