One need think about the implications of this video only for a moment to understand the essential issue: a system that depends on private insurance is potentially no system at all. That insurers routinely deny coverage for any number of reasons means that, in addition to the forty-seven million who have no insurance, there are potentially millions more who only think they do, despite paying premiums.
Insurance companies do not provide medical care. They collect money, invest it, dole it out when they have no way not to. Even for the so-called "non-profits," it's a money-making business, the basis of which is taking money intended for health care, keeping as much of it as possible for as long as possible, returning to the system as little as possible. If it can also be said of physicians and hospitals that they profit from the ill health of others, at least those entities are providing actual care. If we're serious about real health care reform (and it's evident that the "we" is the populace, but not its elected officials), it ought to be the case that any citizen who gets sick can receive care, regardless of the timing of their illness or where it falls in the fine print. Period. And, of course, the same ought to apply to well-care (assuming we know what interventions actually add to health. As opposed to prophylactic spine manipulations, homeopathy, and other forms of woo.) The criterion for coverage: you exist. Other countries do it; why not us?
This is the central idea, the raison d'etre, of a single payer plan. Same rules for everyone. Guaranteed coverage. No wondering, no legions of people spending dollars intended for health care trying to find ways out of spending dollars intended for health care.
And, taking it all the way, what if this care were not only guaranteed but free (or nearly free) of premiums? So what if certain taxes were raised to pay for it? Wouldn't that be more than offset (or at least evenly offset) by freedom from those premiums? And by the fact that there'd no longer be an unnecessary and very expensive intermediary between people and the care they get?
To me it's obvious. Inevitable, even. Although watching Congress I conclude it won't happen for a few more decades, assuming we still exist by then; and only after a complete failure of the current system. The opposition continues to parade their hand-crafted talking points, designed to scare and distract. There simply are no salient arguments I've heard that make a case for maintaining the intermediary of hundreds of insurance companies, other than what amounts to "we need them because we have them." What good are they adding? What particular and essential need do they fill? For the billions and billions of dollars, intended for health care, that insurance companies make, take, and keep, what do consumers get that justifies their existence? The "public option," they tell us, "is just a way to get rid of insurance companies." And that would be bad, how?
Seriously. Somebody tell me. I can't think of a thing.
And yet, if you listen to our Congresscrowd -- practically all of 'em -- you'd think it's the insurance companies that are responsible for everything that's good about American health care. "The best health care the world has ever known," as one of them recently said, ignoring the price we're paying compared to the rest of the world, the millions with limited access to it, and the fact that we are at the bottom end of most measurable health criteria.
This might be a good time to insert a cartoon that Ellen sent me:
I think it is the essence of the contrary argument. Although, as I've said, were we to go all the way to provide universal coverage under a single payer, taxes would be offset. For those who love insurance companies, there ought to be a way to provide them the option.
Or, if they want the same result without all the paper work, whenever they get sick they could run into their bathrooms and do this.