Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Democratic U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich has stated that the current proposal for health insurance reform from the Democrat-controlled Congress is "a bailout for insurance companies." Kucinich, the veteran House of Representatives member from Ohio was a contender for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008. Kucinich has for a long time called for public universal health insurance and had endorsed Barack Obama's nomination after deciding to end his own presidential candidacy.
Speaking on MSNBC's The Ed Show, Kucinich condemned the Democratic congressional leaders for removing an amendment sponsored by Kucinich which would have allowed states to create their own single-payer health insurance systems. Such a system would be similar to Canadian and British universal health care plans, and individual states could voluntarily join in single-payer public non-profit health care insurance plans. The amendment had been passed in House legislative committee in July, and was removed from the new plan by House leaders without explanation. The new plan ties rates for services to rates paid by major insurance companies rather than Medicare payment rates and allows rates to rise 25% above existing medical care fees. The bill would also mandate all citizens buy an approved insurance plan - which would mean forcing most people to buy expensive private insurance plans since few would qualify for the public plan option. Host Ed Schultz referred to the plan as a "sellout," pointing out that only 11 million Americans would be allowed to join a limited government run (public) health insurance option while everyone would be forced to obtain insurance, meaning many millions more of the presently uninsured would be forced to buy private insurance. This would be a great boost to insurance industry profits, with the government forcing millions of already impoverished people to buy health insurance.
Citizens often fail to acknowledge that insurance is a for-profit industry that naturally drives up the cost of health care. The collusion between insurance companies, pharmaceutical interests, and government policymakers aggravates this inherent drawback to corporate for-profit insurance. Government "public" health insurance would depend on public funds, which are currently a concern due to the multi-trillion dollar deficit of the U.S. Government. If citizens and health care providers wish to improve their own finances they may seek to find ways of providing and obtaining health care independent of either a public or private insurance system. Some form of co-operative arrangement in one's community could offer an alternative that would be a win-win for providers and patients.
Congressman Kucinich is inaccurate in calling the current Congressional plan a bailout, as the health care insurance industry is not in genuine distress. It's an industry dominated by unethical profit-seekers who have manipulated Congress to "sellout" Americans to further corporate greed. Worse yet, much of what is provided as health care does not benefit people's health. Frequently people are not really getting the service they believe they are paying for - which means they remain sick and continue to receive ineffective services, further driving up the costs of treatment and insurance coverage. Health care reform starts at the grass roots level with people taking responsibility for their health, with doctors providing preventive and holistic care, and with informed health care decisions coming from those giving and receiving the treatment. Government health care initiatives often serve the interests of those who profit from the public's ill health and few politicians wish to admit this.