Thursday, October 1, 2009

Health care and the "public option"

This is an article in which one senator is quoted as saying, on the Senate floor, that the "public option" in the health care legislation might be so popular, that it isn't worth doing, since popular demand would turn the "public option" into an institution that is too big to fail. At this point, I find that the piece has entertainment value, if nothing else. This "debate" over health care reform is a non-starter, for one simple reason. In order to have any debate, it must start from the fundamental premise that health care, as we know it, is a human right, and that profit has no place when it comes to making people well. If that day were to come in another initial phase of health care reform, since this one is doomed to fail, that acknowledgment from the mouths of our politicans would be necessary. Otherwise, it would be like this one, as well as the last one (under Clinton) and the ones before that. Think about this: no politician (that takes corporate money) is going to kill a $100 billion-a-year industry by offering a true single-payer system. All this "debate" is serving to do, is to cause another diversionary wedge between the conservatives and the liberals, while the bailout is still taking place, and is being even less scrutinized than before due to the health care ruckus.

Another reason why I have turned against this "reform", is something that was briefly mentioned in the Sun article. Under this plan, it would be mandatory for all Americans to carry health insurance, under penalty of fine. Massachusetts has the same system. This system, in which the beneficaries would be the private insurance companies or the government (provided which service the individual would choose, that is, if the government would even be an option), is akin to the ancient custom of tribute, in which provinces would transfer wealth from their citizens to a kingdom like Babylon or Rome out of allegiance, if not outright coercion. Of course, only in this case, the ones exacting tribute would not be medieval kingdoms, but corporate HMO's.

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