Thursday, July 09, 2009

Insanity Posing as Reform

During the discussions of bailing out the auto manufacturers, much was made of the need for healthcare reform due to the burden that was placed on American manufacturers by having to provide healthcare for their employees. (Actually they provide health insurance, which is by no means the same thing, but...)  American manufacturers are at a disadvantage, it was claimed, because they are competing in the world economy with the manufacturers of other nations who do not have that burden. We need to have healthcare reform, and we need it immediately, to take that unfair burden off of the backs of our manufacturers.

Now we are proposing a “healthcare reform” plan that has an “employer mandate.” What is that? It is a clause that requires all businesses with 25 or more employees to provide health insurance to their employees.

How insane has this discussion become? First we need healthcare reform to relieve employers of a terrible burden, and then we propose a package of reform that will impose that burden on all sizeable employers who do not already bear it.

We’ve already had a Nobel Prize winner get all heated up in the NY Times about how we spend too much on healthcare, twice as much as any other nation in the world, and then propose in that same editorial, adoption of reform package that does nothing to address that excessive cost, actually increases it, and label that package as “fundamental reform.”

He even touts that package as being a bargain because it only increases expenditure by a mere $1.3 trillion, saying that such an amount is “less than 4 percent of the $33 trillion the U.S. government predicts we’ll spend on health care over the next decade.”

I’m hoping that, with the “Swedish thingy” and all, he knows he’s conning his readers, and that he realizes that the $1.3 trillion is government spending, while the “we” in that $33 trillion is not government; it’s the American people, American businesses and government, with the latter being a rather small part of it. So adding $1.3 trillion to government spending is not quite the, “Gee whizz, it’s easy to trim 4% off our current spending to offset that” which he so disingenuously presents.

Meanwhile, single-payer, and the various hybrids of single-payer and national insurance that are used with great success by other civilized nations, are not even allowed into the discussion.

We are truly governed by idiots and are being advised by morons.

Which is an easy, cool, but inaccurate conclusion. The reality is that the discussion has been so thoroughly sidetracked by the corporate health insurance and pharmaceutical industries that any meaningful conversation in the political arena or in the corporate-owned media has become utterly impossible. And that means that any "fundamental reform" of the manner in which health care is delivered in this nation is doomed.

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