Do We Want Access to Affordable Health Care or Not?

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:

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6 thoughts on “Do We Want Access to Affordable Health Care or Not?”

  1. THANK YOU! I was beginning to think there were no reasonable people out there who hasn’t bought into the healthcare reform lies currently overtaking our nation . How can the lies reach so many people? The oppposition must have lots of force, power and money cause there seems to be very few that actual know what is what these days.

  2. I can never understand the US approach to health insurance (I’m from Oz). Seems like somehow insurance is tied to who you have employment with as a result of wage controls during WW2 (which seems to be pretty parlous to me, if you ever get *really* sick and have to leave your job/are fired, particularly in a recession).

    Somehow this is a free-market solution – which doesn’t sound correct at all to me!

    We have ‘socialised medicine’ here in Australia, but while it isn’t perfect, it doesn’t destroy families and bring the sins of the fathers (parents) down upon the sons (their children) if the parents don’t have health insurance. And yes, it seems like you already have death panels if I understand HMOs and such things properly, and in any case it seems like insurance companies can drop you like a hot potato any time they like.

    I understand that 62% of bankruptcies in the US are due to medical bills, but that seems interminably high.

    Americans are crazy.

    Thanks: Micheal

  3. Thanks Miller Family and Micheal! Yes, the insurance lobby is extremely powerful. And then there is a cadre of people that make a great deal of money by yelling and screaming and keeping people angry. These folks have a great interest, especially financially, in seeing our President fail. Some of them have even said that they want this to be a failed presidency. Who cares about America and unity and what’s best for the people when you’re raking in the big bucks by creating division through the lies you tell?

    And, of course, Micheal has a great point. What we have now is nothing like “free market.” Naturally, there is no perfect system, and there will be flaws in anything. But we don’t have the best health care in the world right now (it’s #37), we pay more than any other developed country per capita for our health care, and having more options and more affordable health care can only be an improvement over what we have now.

  4. Well said… I agree 100%. I’m from Canada and am also tired of hearing comparisons to the “Canadian system” from people who don’t know what they’re talking about (and their comments show this). I’m also baffled at how the myths which Obama explicitly dismissed in his big speech continue to prevail in popular discussion. So either these people just didn’t watch the speech and/or just don’t want to take the Pres. at his word (maybe it’s hard to, after the one you guys just got rid of; I can understand that), or, they actually think Obama would lie. He’s made it clear that the new bill/reform won’t cost new dollars/debt, so why are people still insisting on it adding to the debt?

    And since it won’t require anyone to change their current health care if they are satisfied with it, what problems do these people have with the public option, which they wouldn’t be paying for anyway?

    Arrgh. Sorry for the ramble, but good to hear your point of view!:) I agree about what you say about the current insurance companies, too. Just about as helpful as they were during Katrina, I’m sure.

    I’m hoping for the best for you guys. I hope there’s a public option because it’s going to be in everyone’s best interests later on down the road.

  5. Thanks for stopping by at my little political corner of the world, Money Energy 🙂 I understand your frustration with our debate. I have Canadian friends who share your view. I also know a lot of Britons who are likewise annoyed that opponents point to NHS as something “evil”. No, it’s not perfect. But at least everyone has access affordable health care. And, interestingly, the NHS actually allows private insurance if you want to purchase it. The misinformation out there is frustrating — especially since those spreading it are so loud and so repetitive that it’s hard to ignore and difficult to set it aside and look for reason. And that’s part of the problem with the “debate.” Facts are boring.

  6. Hello and thank you for your post. I agree that one of the greatest problems is so much misleading information. People are confused. But the thing that a reform is necessary as the health insurance now is alarming. There is still more than 15% of the American population with no insurance coverage and the insurance system itself is extremely costly – more than 15% of the US GDP!.

    Take care,

    Lorne

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