Remember back when we wanted health care reform? Back on the campaign trail, Barack Obama pledged to make health care a priority. Now that he is, of course, no one wants health care reform. Oh, we say we do, but once someone starts getting serious about it, we listen to outrageous bits of misinformation and catchy soundbites that are outright lies, and then decide we don't want it.
New flash: We already have “death panels”
One of the biggest frustrations I have with the “debate” (read: loud screaming that isn't backed by facts) is all this “death panel” talk. Opponents of a public option for health care scream “socialism” and “death panels” loudly, even though a public option is neither. In fact, the very things they are screaming against are what we already have. They're called insurance companies. Here is an overview of what we already have with insurance companies:
- You are assigned to a “group”. Your premiums are based on everyone in the “group.” Therefore, if someone else needs a lot of health care services, everyone in the group sees increases in premiums. You subsidize other people's heath issues — no matter where you are getting your health care.
- You are told where you are allowed to get treatment, usually with a specific provider.
- You might be restricted from seeing the care provider of your choice, limiting you to where someone else tells you to go.
- You can be dropped from your coverage, even if you face a life-threatening condition.
- A panel of people decides whether or not you can have coverage at all.
- A panel of people decides whether your current condition deserves coverage.
The cruel, cruel irony here is that opponents of a public option use these very spurious arguments that are false when it comes to a public option, but true when it comes to what we already have. People are upset about our current system, and they are screaming for more. The whole point of health care reform is to stop the above abuses and provide Americans with an affordable option.
Public option health care: It's called an option for a reason
A public option would be that: an option. If you can't afford health insurance, you would have the ability to go a public plan — one that requires premiums on a scale based upon your ability to pay. This option does not deny coverage for necessary treatment, nor does it stop you from getting coverage if you have a pre-existing condition. You can be treated where you would like to be treated. And you can't be dumped. If you like your current plan, it's easy. Keep it.
A public option is in no way a takeover of the health insurance industry. It simply provides a way for those who are uninsured, underinsured or fed up with their current insurance a competitive and affordable health insurance option. If the so-called “free market” refuses to provide something that the people want, and feel they should have, what's wrong with the government providing an alternative?
Here is a great article on the myths surrounding the public health care option.
Below is a flow chart that simplifies the public option visually. It's from Buck Naked Politics:
You can learn more about the practice of rescission. And, finally, this great video on the craziness involved in the health care “debate” and how the health insurance industry works: