In Washington Health Care Reform is front and center this week, but will anything meaningful happen? The Insurance companies see the handwriting on the wall so they are suddenly on board. Or are they? They are terrified that a public funded system will be enacted and they know they couldn't keep their obscene profits, much less compete, if that were to happen. To get a seat at the table they are suddenly all for reform. No more Harry and Louise spots to befuddle the mind.
That's the good news. The bad news is, they are sabotaging real reform with their band-aid approach. New York's Charles Schumer is working on a compromise that will allow for a public system that will level the playing field by requiring the public insurance to meet the same requirements as private insurance. It will not be funded by tax revenue, but by premiums and co-pay. If that's the best we can do I suppose it's better than nothing. But it will delay, if not stop, meaningful reform for a generation. It will not reduce the cost of health care because it will not really set up competition between the insurance agencies and the public agencies. Competition would be the only thing that would bring the cost of medical care down in a plan based on the Capitalist approach. If this legislation were to be enacted the only positive thing that would be accomplished would be the ability for everyone to be able to buy insurance.
John Conyer has a much better piece of legislation H.R. 676. It is a serious single-payer plan and has 75 co-sponsors. To pass, it will need 218 votes. If you care about the single-payer system please contact your representative today and pressure them to vote for this.
For those of you who are still not convinced that this country needs a single-payer system consider these facts:
- 47 million people lack health insurance. (Some say 50 million)
- The U. S. spends twice as much per person as any other industrialized nation and has far worse outcomes.
- The Insurance and Pharmaceutical monopolies are very inefficient and wasteful.
- The Pharmaceutical Industry takes $350 billion of our health care money for drugs that only cost a small fraction of that amount to make.
- In the event of a pandemic we are woefully unprepared. In the event of a serious flu outbreak it is estimated that 10 million people would need to be hospitalized. Right now we only have 1 million hospital beds and 3/4 of them are already full.
- More than half of our emergency rooms are operating at above capacity right now.
- A terrorist attack would create a disaster of unimaginable proportions based on those facts.
"We are all socialists now," proclaims Newsweek. We are creating "socialist republics" in the United States, says Mike Huckabee, adding, on reflection, that "Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff." We are witnessing the Obama-era phenomenon of "European socialism transplanted to Washington," says Newt Gingrich.
(If you are lacking a workable solution raise the 'socialized' label. One red herring is as good as another . It reminds me of the schoolyard bully taunt - nyah, nyah, nyah, your mother wears combat boots. DC)
But in the United States, conservatives have never bashed socialism because its specter was actually stalking America. Rather, they've wielded the cudgel against such progressive reforms as free universal education, the minimum wage or tighter financial regulations. Their signal success is to have kept the United States free from the taint of universal health care. The result: We have the world's highest health-care costs, borne by businesses and employees that cannot afford them; nearly 50 million Americans have no coverage; infant mortality rates are higher than those in 41 nations - but at least (phew!) we don't have socialized medicine.
Obama, like Roosevelt before him, is engaged not in creating socialism but in rebooting a crashed capitalist system. The spending in Obama's stimulus plan isn't a socialist takeover. It's the only way to inject money into a system in which private-sector investment, consumption and exports - the other three possible engines of growth - are locked down. Investing more tax dollars in education and research and development is a way to use public funds to create a more competitive private sector. Keeping our banks from speculating madly with our money is a way to keep banking alive.
If Obama realizes his agenda, what emerges will be a more social, sustainable, competitive capitalism.
Laissez-faire American capitalism is about to be supplanted not by socialism but by a more regulated, viable capitalism.
Judging by the failures of the great Wall Street investment houses and the worldwide crisis of commercial banks; the collapse of East Asian, German and American exports; the death rattle of the U.S. auto industry; the plunge of stock markets everywhere; the sickening rise in global joblessness; and the growing shakiness of governments in fledgling democracies that opened themselves to the world market - judging by all these, a more social capitalism is on the horizon because the deregulated capitalism of the past 30 years has blown itself up, taking much of the known world with it.
So, for conservatives searching for the culprits behind this transformation of capitalism: It was your own damn system.
I think the naysayers should be ashamed of themselves after their dismal record. It really takes chutzpah to criticize the current administration after the 'so called' Conservatives put this country on life support. DC