Monday, December 01, 2008

Universal Confusion

Sunday in the Washington Post and Monday in the L.A. Times articles appeared on the emerging "consensus" that health care reform is desperately needed. It's been needed for longer than my 58 years, but better late than never--or is it. The Post article doesn't mention single-payer plans at all and the LAT simply says a national single-payer insurance program, like those in Europe and Canada is "off the table," while later allowing that "liberals" and health care reform advocates will keep pushing for same. Since Europe and Canada are healthier societies than the US, despite spending considerably less per capita than the US on health care, not considering similar systems makes no sense at all. Indeed, the alternatives to single-payer are so complex, convoluted, intrusive, and wasteful as to defy comprehension in no small measure because they continue to rely on employer paid insurance, which is a joke getting older and more obscene by the annual renewal. The current system, as everyone knows except right wing ideologues benefits no one but insurance companies who currently suck 1/2 to 2/3 of every dollar out of the system, meaning it never goes to medicine.

I wondered where such one-sided, biased stories originated. Did the reporters and editors generate them in response to the Obama's campaign pledge? I think not. My suspicion, given that the Newt of Gingrich was quoted in both as an expert, is that the stories were inspired by a person or persons trying to dictate the agenda and block any serious consideration of real reform. It would be unfortunate if they succeed, but it wouldn't be the first time.

Under a single-payer plan administered through Medicare, so a new bureaucratic agency doesn't need to be created, everyone would benefit from lower costs and better care, except the bloated ticks on the current system--the insurance companies--especially if malpractice claims were sent to arbitration boards rather than court. Corporations and large institutions, like schools, colleges, and universities would benefit mightily from getting health care off the books. Workers would benefit from increased freedom of movement, since they would no longer be bound by the need for employer partial paid insurance. Doctors would benefit from not having to devote time and staff to multiple incomprehensible insurance programs.

Time to do it.

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