Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Fundamental Contradiction

A couple of days ago I wrote of some contradictions in President Obama’s health care reform speech. They were relatively minor but weakened what was, to me, an otherwise rather convincing speech advancing the case for insurance reform. The speech did nothing for health care reform, though, because it did not even address that subject.

Last year we had a major financial crisis which, pretty much all agree, was caused by a lack of regulation in the financial industry. Now we have a health care crisis and are proposing regulation to resolve it, but therein lies the fundamental contradiction.

We are proposing to regulate, not the health care provider industry which creates health care costs, but rather to regulate the health insurance industry which pays those costs. To make things even worse, proposed regulation consists of requiring those insurers to pay more and charge less. Those insurance companies will be required to pay out more money to the hospitals and doctors who are creating the bills for health care and, while paying out more money, will be expected to lower the premiums they charge individuals.

Make no mistake, I believe the proposed insurance regulations are morally sound. No person should be denied health care due to a present illness, and that is what our present system does. That must be changed. But these insurance reforms in the absence of regulations inhibiting the predatory behaviors of medical providers and drug companies is unworkable and utterly insane.

I’m with President Obama; reform is needed because a great nation is one which takes care of its people. But the proposals on the table, a demagogic mishmash of demonizing insurance companies and selling a program through a mixture of fear and greed, is just nonsense and unworthy of any nation which pretends to greatness.

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