Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Health Care

"Chuck for..." is an advocacy site, really. It may seem like I spend a lot of time bashing certain things or their advocates, but the bashing isn't what it is about. I take great swinging whacks at liars, not because putting them down is my version of advocacy, but because I advocate truth and openness in government. I'm going to take some swipes at all the candidates and health care. Some of you are in a lather about the difference between the Clinton plan and the Obama plan - McCain's isn't worth typing about - and I'm going to tell you a couple uncomfortable truths.

Neither plan means squat, Congress will do what it will do and that will pretty much be it. A President can send a nicely detailed plan down to them and they will make of it what they wish to. That is how that works. Even George II had to let his Republican lackeys play about with his plans and get them past a Democratic filibuster - if they had that much nerve - when he had his compliant Republican majority. Congress has been stalled since the Democrats got their narrow majority and even big wins in fall 08 probably won't ensure a filibuster proof Congress.

The differences between the plans as insurance company "insurance plans" is immaterial. Both are simply shills for health insurers. Rather than actually do anything about the mess, both simply guarantee greater insurer access to the citizenry and to the government's dollars (the citizenry again). Those plans and what is really required are so completely different in scope and reason that the details fade into insignificance. These so called plans are no more than sops to the idea that something must be done.

The horror engendered by the term socialized medicine is real...and utter nonsense. We have socialized medicine today, outside Medicaid and Medicare, and it is called - your insurance plan. If you have insurance you are the source of socialized medicine. People with no insurance are treated on emergency basis and when they cannot pay the hospital must recoup that loss and the source is your insurance. That bill you see with the horrid numbers on it is not what your treatment cost, it is what your treatment cost plus part of what someone who couldn't pay cost. Bad debts or a non-payment are a part of any billing procedure. I give "free" estimates for construction projects, the "s are real. I have to spend time and gasoline to give those and somehow I must get paid for it, so you pay when you sign a contract - and you pay for all those estimates that didn't pan out as well. I have to pay for gasoline and I have to have money to do that and where else can I get money other than from those who agree to give it to me? The exact same thing happens in hospitals except the numbers are a heck of a lot bigger than a few gallons of gas (for now).

Maybe, you think, if we make everybody buy insurance it will work out. No, it won't. What is it you propose to do to me if I refuse to buy your insurance? Why is it exactly that you'll be happy to not only subsidize my more costly needs in insurance but also make sure that somebody profits from them? My wife's pre-existing conditions make her an insurers nightmare, she's alright right now, but this stuff is going to come back to haunt whoever covers her and they know it. It is flatly inevitable that she is going to cost a fortune in medical bills and these candidate propose that you will not only be happy to foot that, but also to make sure that there is a profit available on it.

If you think this idea works out well, ask the domestic auto companies how it is working out as they give a $1500 per vehicle edge to the later foreign owned domestic manufacturers. They went down this route and it is breaking them. If you start out with "that's what they get for pandering to the unions" you've missed the point - it is exactly what the candidates are proposing. A for profit scheme financed on your back either in premiums or taxes. Why exactly are insurers supposed to stop denying treatments and foot dragging on payments when the profit motives remain exactly the same? What, you're gonna pass rules??

How is it exactly that your health became a product? I scoff at these so-called plans. There is exactly one thing that makes any sense at all and that is single payer not for profit health care - yes socialized medicine done openly and straight forwardly as socialized medicine instead of as a shell game. To be absolutely sure, those who can afford to do it will find a way to improve what is available to them versus the general public, that is already how it is done in every venue imaginable. You certainly do not believe everybody lives on Social Security??? The point is to ensure (not insure) that some minimum standard of health care is available to all without penalizing everybody with two nickles to rub together.

I cannot insure my wife, flatly cannot. I am fortunate personally to be extraordinarily healthy. I can get insurance, I don't, there is no point in it. My wife is going to ruin me, not I am going to ruin me. At some point you are going to get the bill for my wife, you may not like it, I certainly don't because I'll get ruined even though you get to pay for it. Do you mean to tell me that you also propose that somebody should get to profit from this mess? These "plans" will still pass the cost on to you through premiums, they won't get passed up the income scale to the plutocrats we all support with our work, they'll get the nice gold plated premiums they have gotten all along at a minimal increase (to them) and you'll get to be whacked once again.

If this sounds like class warfare, you haven't been paying attention. The class warfare has been going on since Ronnie Reagan and if you're in the bottom 3/4 of the income scale you've been losing. (and for god's sake voting Republican??) When the top 1% makes more than the entire bottom 50% put together sympathy for their tax load is a bit misplaced. If you do not see that these plans are a shifting of the burden of the entire population's health and a profit from it through premium increases onto those least able to afford that shift you are flatly crazy.

If you've come to me and criticized one of the Democrats for their health plan and I looked at you with a blank stare, maybe you understand - now. Hey, at least I didn't fall down laughing...

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