Wednesday, July 22, 2009


PAGING SENATOR HOWARD, SENATOR FINE, SENATOR HOWARD: The so called “debate” over health care is peaking but anyone who thinks we will actually get the meaningful system the public has demanded is either naive or a moron.

Fully 70-80% of Americans, depending on the poll, demand single payer, government run, “Medicare for all” health care according to dozens of polls. Yet the self-absorbed inside-the-beltway media continues to kow-tow to the two duopolistic corporate parties that were already bought and paid for years ago to make sure we will never get the same health care system that the rest of the world enjoys.

The media debate centers around the circle-jerk promulgated by the president and congress and completely ignores the fact that people don’t want anything like the proposed insurance-industry laden health care system- not for the reasons concocted by the right-wing-nuts but because it isn’t the single payer system they thought we were finally going to enact.

According to every mainstream media (MSM) outlet it’s a political battle between a Democratic Party bullsh-t, corporate-endorsed system of tinkering around the edges of a broken system and an even more bullsh-t Republican campaign of fear mongering, misrepresentation and outright lies to stop even the meaningless changes Dems have proposed.

The pundits and reporters fail to even discuss that the real grounds for the lack of popularity of the “Obama Plan” is because both sides embrace what nobody wants- more insurance company control over healthcare... a ghoulish system that reaps profits at the expense of people’s health and even lives.

The die was cast when earlier this year the “word on the street”- presumably Pennsylvania Ave.- as reported by the MSM, was to forget about single payer because no one in congress would ever vote for it.

And yes- ask any senator or representative- they admit it. It’s “politically impossible” they say, to have single payer because the campaign contributions from insurance companies, pharmaceutical giants and their assorted corporate shills have bought off congress.

Oh- so you’re admitting you’re bought and paid for Senator? Well no, it’s not me. I would vote for single payer in a moment. It’s all the others... I just can’t fight them all.

Seemingly both no one and everyone has been legally bribed, eh. If every “not me” was really not them we’d have “us” covered with single payer.

The problem is that the people who support single payer, “Medicare for all” or whatever we’re calling it this week are for the most part Democrats and will take anything Obama and the majority congressional Democrats shove down their throats.

It happens every time. They don’t want to be seen as opposing their own, so it doesn’t matter what kid of crap they’re eating because it’s their crap and they’re willing to hold their nose and swallow it even if it’s not the meal they ordered, just to maintain the apparently useless power they’ve gained.

Their silence in demanding real heath care reform- not that ersatz substitution currently on the table- is deafening.

That leaves the Republicans free to argue against single payer without having to even risk the realization of it. They’ve been planning this PR campaign for years and will attack whatever is proposed as if it were single payer, by making up anything they want to.

The media laps it up because it fits their lazy “black or white”, “A” or “B” sound-bite driven, news delivery system. They prefer to play up the corporate-sponsored and devised attacks as the reason why people don’t like what they’re hearing instead of recognizing the lack of a single payer plan as the raison d'être for the public’s ambivalence.

So what are those lies about single payer and who are the lying liars who lie about them?

First of all is cost. Everyone’s talking taxes and deficits and such trying to squeeze out nickels from Medicare Medicaid and the like that have been bled like an orange for 20 years already.

The facts are that the main cost of health care is insurance company profits and administrative fees.

The real numbers are staggering- the administrative costs for insurance companies is a full 30% of revenue while the administration of Medicare costs 3%. And that 30% doesn’t include their profit which run as high as 25%, sometimes more.

That’s literally half the cost of health care. Eliminate those costs and all the under and uninsured can be covered and then some.

That doesn’t even include the savings to providers in the streamlining of paperwork that one form, one reimbursement system and one payer provides. That’s without the financial costs to everyone inherent in the current insurance system through bankruptcies, foreclosures and resultant unemployment, welfare payments and other governmental costs. And it doesn’t account for the amount the we pay now for the uninsured by paying for acute and emergency treatment, paid at an even more astronomical cost than the insured pay.

And it doesn’t include the savings by having one entity representing everyone which will have the leverage and bargaining power to impose reasonable costs on pharmaceutical and medical supply companies.

None of those savings can or do exist under the insurance company model.

If “paying for health care” is an issue, single payer is a no brainer. The reason why Republicans can attack Democrats for lack of cost control is because Democrats gave up on the system that would provide enough savings to pay for a system of means-tested fees to provide medical care for all.

Another related and similarly idiotic argument is that we’d have to increase taxes to pay for single payer.

We all heard that the Congressional Budget Office found the proposed non-plan would cost a trillion dollars.

But guess what- the statistic we didn’t cite above and no one seems to mention is that we’re already paying inordinate amounts for “insurance”.

If you’re stupid enough not to realize that and complain that you don’t want to pay what would be, at most, the same amount in a “tax”- or presumably less when all the insurance company skinning is taken out of the equation- you’re obviously semantically challenged and need to buy a clue or some critical thinking skills.

So put away the tea bag and do the math.

If we as a county are paying “X” for health care right now including employer contributions, Medicare and Medicaid and of course payments by individuals and we add all the savings single payer provides we’d be paying X minus a small fortune.

Call it a “tax” or call it the current portion of your paycheck noted as an “employer contribution” and “deduction for insurance”- that’s simply a differentiation without a difference.

So where are we... single payer is a no-brainer for cost control and you’re already paying up the wazoo now so you can only pay less no matter what you call it when we take it away from insurance companies.

But even more absurd are some of the characterizations of the single payer delivery systems in place in every other industrialized nation on earth.

Let’s start with this insane notion that some of these “horror” are worse in those single payer countries than under our insurance companies.

Anyone who claims the people there don’t like their system is lying. They may not like some delivery particulars but when you look at any general gripes, they’re even worse here.

Rationing of care? Having to wait for a doctor’s visit? Having to wait for elective procedures?

If you haven’t experienced this under insurance companies you either don’t have insurance, have never had misfortune to really need it or are rich.

Have you tried to make an appointment with a doctor for a non urgent matter in America? You’ll be lucky to get an appointment in a month, a fraction of any clamed wait in Canada or England that opponents love to lie about. Seeing a specialist? How about getting an MRI? Elective knee surgery? Try months- or never if the insurance company says so.

In fact, we not only wait longer here, the determining factor isn’t how sick we are but how much it costs.

Transplant? Experimental procedures? Whereas everyone qualifies under single payer systems, under insurance companies you’re just denied treatment over and over until you’re dead or told you have a “preexisting condition”- including things like not reporting you had a headache in 1987 or some similarly absurd and unrelated minor omission on your application- making you eligible for nothing but having your claim denied, having your premium made more unaffordable than it is now or, more likely, being dropped entirely by your insurance company.

And the questions “do you want a government bureaucrat making a decision on whether you can have care?” is absolutely vapid. Would you rather have an insurance company bureaucratic operative- who gets rewarded financially for denying you care- making the decision?.. well that’s what you’ve got now.

At least under a government system there would presumably be a transparent methodology of approval, based on medical need not someone’s bottom line.

Under most single payer systems across the world there is virtually no such thing as a denial of an established service when a doctor orders it. The claim that there would be such as restriction under single payer is just another fear mongering distortion by those beholden to the insurance companies.

Anyone who saw Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko” knows the horrors of having profit as a motive for granting or denying care. It’s another no-brainer for most of us, even in the face of the health insurance industry’s admitted massive disinformation campaign regarding the film and whistleblower revelations regarding their practices.

One of the more mind-numbing contentions made by Republicans and unrefuted by Democrats- because they won’t stand up for single payer and have already given up the anti-insurance company fight- is that people like the coverage they have now.

There are two types who like their coverage now- those who have never been really sick and those who can afford gold-plated coverage. They may like the standard of care American clinics and hospitals provide- something that isn’t going to change under single payer delivery system- but they don’t like to pay insurance companies half their paycheck to get it.

But for all the Republican obfuscation, PR spin, outright lies and idiocy, it’s the Democratic rank and file who are really to blame for letting their leaders get away with selling our basic human right- yes right- to health care down the river before we even began.

It’s typical of Democrats- they’re willing to swallow the same crap they wouldn’t accept when the Republicans were in charge, just because they don’t want to criticize their side.

And that’s the problem- that silence within the Democratic Party faithful that allows the leaders to ignore the members allows the horse-race. “he said- she said” reporting press to say there are only two “sides”, neither one of which is the side of the people who require health care.

Many think that this idiotic “public option” is way to finagle the single payer they want.

But that’s not gonna happen. The insurance companies have already made it their prime directive to the bought and paid for Dems and Repubs- if there is a public option the final legislation will prevent any evolution to single payer.

If we believe that politicians won’t do what they are saying they’re going to do- make sure single payer is “off the table”- we are officially insane.

The pattern is familiar, especially among Democrats. “Oh, they’re just saying that to get it passed” is just a refrain of the old “they’re just saying that to get elected”. But guess what?- we’ve seen over and over that’s not true and different outcomes never spring from doing the same thing.

We have no one but ourselves to blame when, led by the rings though our noses we button our lips and let them compromise away our rights until the end product is the same no matter who is in charge.

The current deliberation is nothing but a fake debate and hardly bares the attention being paid. Health care will be more expensive and more unattainable under any scenario being considered right now.

The only thing that seems to be agreed upon is that we will now be mandated to pay even more than we’re paying now to insurance companies for the same crappy lack-of-comprehensive coverage we’re getting now.

What you see is what you get. When in the near future we see people dropping like flies all around us because this so-called health care reform was an insurance company scam, it will only be because, by buying into the frame of the current health care debate, we’re established the fact that we’re too dumb to live.

No comments: