Saturday, September 19, 2009

Let's talk health care, shall we?

OK, I've held fire over the entire health care debate, hoping against hope that the Congress and Obama administration would, finally, forsake the imprecations of the highly funded health care combine (AMA, PharMa, AHIP, etc. ad nauseam), but that was not to be.

The absolute pile of crap that came out of Baucus' Senate Finance Committee showed just how beholden Baucus, Conrad, and Bingaman are to their primary funders, the out of state health care lobbies. The bill itself was drafted by one Liz Fowler who, until earlier this year, was an executive VP for the health care concern Wellpoint, Inc., primary owner of the majority of Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans in the U.S. So, this being the case, is it any surprise, whatsoever, that the Baucus Senate Finance Committee bill is just one great big wet kiss for the health care industry?

After last weekend's clueless gathering of mentally deficient “9/12ers” in D.C., one could only scratch one's head in bewilderment at how these people, the very people, by and large, that are and will continue to be screwed by the health care industry, were loudest at braying approval of the status quo. What is sobering is to realize that most of that crowd of unwashed, mouth breathing, knuckle dragging mental midgets can and probably do vote!

And, more astoundingly, though they raged and screamed about “socialist medicine” few, if any in that crowd, had ever actually experienced “socialized medicine” and had absolutely no idea what they were braying about. Contrary to the “masses” that showed their abject ignorance of the subject, I have actually experienced “socialized medicine” in both Europe and Canada. Again, contrary to all the “horror stories” of restrictions on providers, restrictions on procedures, interminable delays and scarcity, all of my experiences with European and Canadian health care were very salutary. When admitted to a hospital, after obtaining necessary personal data, I was quickly ushered to a hospital bed and was nursed and treated every bit as well as I ever had been in any American hospital. When going to the doctor I merely had to present my “health care ID” and got in to see the doctor in short order. When labs and tests were indicated, there was no major delay in obtaining them. And, most importantly, NO BILLS WERE TENDERED FOR ANY OF THIS CARE!

The pathetically weak, industry dominated Baucus bill is in no wise ANY KIND of “socialized health care”! It is a huge gift package for the health care industry, with “individual mandates” that would benefit the health insurance industry with MILLIONS of new “insured”, even if the only insurance available to many would be, essentially, worthless coverage. With literally dozens of ways for the insurance industry to game the system, Baucus' “health care reform” would, actually, be less than useless, it would be positively harmful!

Unfortunately, at this point it seems that the whole “health care reform” charade needs to be scrapped and, since it is manifestly obvious that the Republicans won't sign on to anything of consequence anyway, it needs to be redrafted from scratch. And, more importantly, when the redrafting begins, it should BEGIN from the standpoint of UNIVERSAL SINGLE PAYER! If necessary, then the universal single payer MAY be bargained down to a robust, heavily subsidized public plan. The public plan can be retained as a FALL BACK position, but it certainly shouldn't be the point of departure for a real health care reform plan.

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