Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Human Right

Continuing our consideration of health care reform and quoting from the Helen Redmond piece I looked at yesterday. Here she enumerates the reasons to oppose what she calls the "public plan" for universal health care that allows private health insurers to stay in business, essentially as competitors to the government. Any one of these points, to my way of thinking, justifies single payer systems over what is sure to be yet another bonanza for the bullies who continue to just pound the living hell out of us.
  1. It doesn’t make health care a human right that can never be taken away.
  2. It continues to divide, devalue, and define people by their health status.
  3. It can’t address the endemic racial and gender disparities in the system, including the 12 million undocumented.
  4. It leaves the employer based system of health care provision intact. That link has to be broken so workers are free to change jobs, go on strike and not fear loss of coverage.
  5. The system would continue to have multiple payers and therefore the complexity and gaps in coverage that are inevitable when there are numerous bureaucracies to navigate.
  6. Where will the money come from to finance the plan, especially in a time of economic recession, like right now? A public plan is not fiscally sustainable because it’s rooted in a multiple payer system that foregoes at least 84% of administrative savings.

Single-payer on the other hand, would immediately inject 400 billion into the system by eliminating bureaucracy, billing apparatus, administrative waste, advertising, corporate profits, and CEO compensation. That’s enough money to bring everyone into the system with no co-pays or deductibles.

We don’t need any more feasibility studies or examinations of single-payer in other countries. It’s a proven fact that a single-payer system can cover everyone and control costs. Period, end of discussion.

Unfortunately, at this stage of the game only John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, and few other Democrats are pushing for a single payer system. Here we stand at the threshold of a rare opportunity to really do something good for everybody in this country: recognize that health care is a human right, not a right that only people who can afford it have. I afraid, however, our capitalistic mentalities are far more likely to make two monumental errors in judgment. First, they will assure us for the umpteenth time, that corporations, in this case, private health insurers, can be trusted. How this is possible after what they have handed out to the rest of us, what they've done to the environment, and their corrosive greed ever since the dawn of the industrial age, and given our current catastrophe at their hands, I don't know. (Maybe over the course of the next few months, corporations are going to develop consciences.) Second, those thought channels will never be able to make the leap from the notion that health care is not just another commodity in the market, to be bought and sold like everything else, but a basic human right that adheres to everyone by virtue of being alive.

But human rights, however basic--liking eating and having decent shelter, for example--are devilishly hard to "sell" to capitalists. Why? Because insuring that everyone has his or her basic human rights provided, well, you see, that's tough on profit margins. Taking care of people, especially if you're talking about everybody, costs money, and those who have money, especially those with more money than they know what to do with, spurn those who have none because they are obviously a lower order of beings. Think I exaggerate? Check out what Bill Cunningham, one of the stars of hate radio, has to say about poor people. I quoted this creep in an earlier Powderfinger. Then consider that millions of people listen to this guy and others like him every day.

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