Friday, May 1, 2009

The Vampires Are Grinning

So, Obama has his budget passed, he's got his stimulus passed, he's got his cabinet in place. We should be gearing up anytime now for the big health care push. I don't have a doubt that we're going to see some kind of health care "reform" pass this year. The president has already demonstrated that he's got the ummph in Congress to get his stuff passed, and the Democrats are getting stronger.

The question is what kind of universal health care bill are we going to get? Let me go on record right now as predicting that we're going to get something the private health insurance (and pharmaceutical) companies can live with. They're going to get their noses out of joint about certain elements in the package, but overall they're going to be OK with it. And this, brothers and sisters, is not good news for the rest of us. In fact, it is terrible news. Because what it means is that the only sensible approach to health care reform, a single-payer system like the one that every other civilized nation on the globe uses, one that cuts the private insurance vampires out of the picture, is going to be rejected . . . out of hand, right out of the box. The president is against the idea, and what are the odds that the Democrats are going to oppose him on this? That good sense will prevail?

I'm not an expert in these matters. Far from it. But this much I know: letting the very reasons our health care system is so broken, so expensive, so discriminatory--just a frigging disaster--letting the insurance industry have a large piece of this action is going to result in exactly the situation we have now in Medicare. A situation which benefits the blood-suckers at the expense of guess who? The people who most need health care!

A quarter century of experience with public/private competition in the Medicare program demonstrates that the private plans will not allow a level playing field. Despite strict regulation, private insurers have successfully cherry picked healthier seniors, and have exploited regional health spending differences to their advantage. They have progressively undermined the public plan – which started as single-payer for seniors and now has become a funding mechanism for HMOs – and a place to dump the unprofitably ill. A public plan option doesn’t lead toward single-payer, but toward the segregation of patients, with profitable ones in private plans and unprofitable ones in the public one.

This observation is from a pair of doctors with Physicians for National Health Care. And is just one of a plethora of excellent points you will find in this piece by Helen Redmond, a licensed clinical social worker who works in the ER at Cook County Hospital. Read it carefully. It will tell you all you really need to know about why you should do everything in your power to further the cause of single payer health care and why Obama is so drastically mistaken to oppose the single payer solution.

For starters, I'll bet you didn't realize how privatized the Medicare system has become. Look, who needs to be convinced that letting anything like the agents of "market forces" that have brought this country to its knees are what we need to install as centerpieces in our so-called reform of health care? Are you kidding me? Nobody with a grain of sense needs to be convinced about this. But sense is not the goal here. The goal as always in capitalism is profits. And unfortunately, more filthy lucre for the parasitic private health insurance industry is what's going to drive the health care reform. Not the common good.

The people are going to get hosed again . . . unless those very same people, the ones who have been getting reamed by corporate greed for decades in this country, demand that their government put their interests before offering up more of their blood to nourish the goddamned vampires. Although there are some glimmers of good news, what do you think the chance the American sheeple are going to do that? I'm not sanguine, if you will pardon the pun. The vampires are licking their nasty chops.
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