Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!
— George Carlin
Back in the 70s preliminary, incomplete results on a substance called Laetrile were released indicating that this derivative from apricot pits inhibited the growth of cancerous tumors in mice. In short order, Americans went wild at the idea that a cure for cancer had been found. Although subsequent reports were released indicating that Laetrile showed no beneficial effects, groups of its proponents continued to preach the gospel of Laetrile. In fact, Laetrile not only has no effect as a cure for cancer, it is highly toxic substance. Nevertheless a quick trip to your search engine will show you that there are plenty of companies willing to sell you the substance now marketed as Vitamin B-17!
Another quick trip to your search engine will take you to a variety of Democrat Party discussion groups where you will hear people singing the praises of Obama’s “public option” health care plan — political Laetrile!
The authentic fix to our corporate-based, profit-driven, 37th-ranked healthcare system is called “universal single-payer health care”. No, it is not the socialized medicine of England. It is a healthcare system which is publicly financed and privately delivered. A form of it is already in place. It is called Medicare. There are no government bureaucrats “between” patient and physician. There are however insurance company bureaucrats between patient and physician in the privately controlled corporate healthcare programs currently in place. Worst of all however, the proposition that the so-called “public option” will be a significant change to the current system is simply preposterous.
Under the “public option” millions of Americans will remain uninsured whereas under single-payer there will be universal coverage. Everyone is in; no one is out! Under the public option, people can buy into the plan, keep private insurance or be uninsured. Under the “public option” the private insurance companies will continue to strip down policies and increase patients co-payments and deductibles whereas under single-payer coverage, all medically necessary services will be provided. The “public option” will be managed by the private insurers! Under the public option the cost of healthcare is expected to increase by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years while under the single-payer plan, there will be a $350 billion savings in administrative wastes each year and no net increase in health-care spending. In essence we will save $350 billion just in administrative waste and experience further systemic savings through negotiated fee schedules with physicians, global budgeting of hospitals, bulk purchasing of pharmaceuticals, and rational planning of capital expenditures. With the public option we will actually be adding further layers of administrative bloat to our healthcare system through the introduction of the larger regulator/broker “exchange”.
With the single-payer plan large scale cost controls will ensure that benefits are sustainable over the long term whereas, with the “public option”, uncontrolled costs ensure that any gains in coverage are quickly erased as government is forced to hike spending or slash benefits.
The public option will be in competition with the private, for-profit health insurance companies whereas there will be no such competition under universal single-payer healthcare. In fact, private insurance would be used only for supplemental or special needs and ultimately the private insurance companies would close their doors. Who would want to pay twice as much for a system that has caused the American healthcare system to be ranked as 37th in the world in terms of quality of health care delivered?
Under the single-payer plan “cherry picking” (picking only the most healthy Americans to insure — meaning the less costly) would be eliminated whereas under the “public option” the private insurance companies would continue to have the option of choosing to insure only those “less sick” which would consequently force the sick into the more expensive “public option” or continue to leave them with no health care at all. Moreover, under single-payer the costs of the system are distributed across the entire population whereas under the Democrats’ “public option”, costs are shifted to the sickest of the privately insured with the “public option” then ultimately having to pick up the sickest members of the population and bearing the associated significant costs across a much narrower population.
Of course under the single-payer concept, there are no pre-existing conditions for coverage while under the “public option” legislation the private insurance companies would continue to deny coverage to such people, forcing them to purchase the “public option” plan.
Unfortunately only a few members of Congress support the plan over 70% of the American people demand — universal single-payer healthcare. The “public option” has sown within itself the seeds of nemesis: it is designed to fail. This way the Republicans will blame the Democrats for the failure of health care reform while at the same time retaining the huge contributions they receive, along with the Democrats, from the HMOs and private healthcare insurance corporations. Moreover, the “public option” plan will effectively delay meaningful health care reform — single payer — for another twenty years.
The lead apostle of this public option for the Democrats is Howard Dean. Last Friday, tragically, he was a guest on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now”. His appearance was announced the day before so that listeners could call in or send e-mails containing questions that would be asked of Howard Dean — the 2004 Democrat presidential candidate who took more contributions from healthcare insurance companies and HMOs than even corporate owned John Kerry. Of the hundreds of e-mails and telephone calls containing questions for this long-time proponent of corporate healthcare, only two were ever asked!
Perhaps we have begun to expect too much of Amy Goodman. She and her sidekick, Juan Gonzalez, even allowed Howard Dean to make the outrageous statement that we are in Afghanistan to help the Afghani women! By this time in the interview the knowledgeable listener had become becoming dizzy and bleary-eyed and just for a moment might have believed to have heard Howard Dean say: “I’m not a liberal but I play one on television”. Unabashedly this guy calls himself “a social liberal and a fiscal conservative”. That is, of course, the political definition of a member of the Libertarian Party. But Libertarians are against war so essentially that makes Howard Dean closer to the proverbial “compassionate conservative” George Bush than it does to Democrats like John Conyers or Dennis Kucinich.
Under the “public option” legislation, no subsidies are provided for individuals or families which have an income that is 400% of the federal poverty level. What does that mean? It means that for a family of four, that threshold is an income of $88,200 (that’s 400% of $22,050 which is the 2009 “poverty income level” for a family of four). Thus if you have a family of four and make $88,200 you get hit for 19% of your family income for health care – that’s $16,758 a year!! More for those with greater needs! By no stretch could that be considered what corporate Democrat Howard Dean calls “affordable”.
It doesn’t take an MBA to see that health insurance and health care are no longer affordable for average-income individuals. Any reform proposal that would make health care affordable for everyone must include a transfer from the wealthy to average- and low-level income families and individuals. Any member of Congress, who votes for the “public option” should be, if it passes, forced to drop out of their congressional plan and sign on to the “public option”. How many, one is constrained to wonder, would vote for the legislation under such a circumstance?
The “public option” healthcare system, managed by the private healthcare insurance companies, that Obama and congress are duping the American public into accepting, really amounts to a bailout of those insurers. A bailout of healthcare corporations which have caused 18,000 Americans to die every year because they have had no coverage! A bailout of healthcare corporations which have caused 50 million Americans to live in fear and anxiety because they cannot afford healthcare insurance! A bailout of the healthcare corporations which continue to finance the political campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain who have put the interests of their corporate pay masters before the health of the American people!
The “public option” scam was designed to push the “Single Payer” healthcare plan, demanded by the majority of Americans, “off the table”. It was engineered this way by the Democrats to accommodate special interests like the Pentagon and its contractors (just two of the cabal members). These special interests do not want to share the federal budget to accommodate the healthcare needs of the American people, the logical outcome if the Congress adopted “single-payer healthcare”.
If Americans are to have the same excellent, comprehensive healthcare enjoyed by the citizens of every other industrialized nation in the world then they are going to have to end the “War on Terrorism” which Howard Dean tells us is being waged to make life easier on women in Afghanistan. Anyone who believes Howard Dean when it comes to the war on Afghanistan or the “public option”, would also be excellent prospects for a sales rep with a special deal on Enron stock or a bridge in Brooklyn.