Sunday :: Nov 8, 2009

No Celebrating Until EVERYONE Has Health Care

by Turkana

The greed and cruelty of the private health insurance industry is one thing on which I think almost all of us can agree. They make their extreme profits off the suffering and dying of others. They exclude those with pre-existing conditions. They deny expensive life-saving treatments. That's the nature of their business. Deciding who gets to live and who has to prematurely die. The private health insurance industry is the ultimate death panel.

To maximize their profits, it's necessary to private insurers that the government do as little as possible. They depend on the government not being dependable. They depend on people having no other gateway to medical care. When the public mood, the president, and the majority of Congress are aligned in determining that the system needs reforming, it is in the insurance industry's best interest to ensure that such reform be as minimal as possible. Insurers would prefer a plan such as proposed by Max Baucus, where mandates without any public option force people to buy insurance industry product. Such a plan would be a direct transfer of billions of dollars from our pockets to the pockets of the insurers. No doubt, under such a plan, insurance industry execs would see record bonuses. But if such a plan is not politically viable, it then becomes in the best interest of the insurance industry to minimize whatever legitimate reform does take place. We already see that happening.

The insurance industry relies on those who have insurance not wanting to spend their tax dollars to help others, and not caring that others suffer and die for lack of coverage. They rely on the public being as cruel and greedy and selfish as are the insurers themselves. You can see the affect that this strategy has been having, even in the liberal blogs. Some say reform could be adequate even without a public option. Some say a limited public option is okay, even if it continues to exclude millions of people. Some say a limited public option is okay, even if millions of people still won't be able to afford needed medications. Some say a public option is okay even if it excludes payment for reproductive choice. The lines are drawn in various places, and even in the liberal blogs you inevitably see people writing that such limited plans are enough for them, because they or their loved ones will be covered. They say we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The result of such thinking could be to let the mediocre and the inadequate be the enemy of the good. Because the only adequate health care system would be one that includes everyone. To me, that should be single payer, but I'm open to legitimate alternatives. But unless everyone is covered, reform is, at best, only a step along the way.

Many claim that partial reform is enough, for now, because more people will be covered, and more lives will be saved. To some extent, that's true. But the question comes down to the political and human cost. Because even if more lives will be saved, many won't be. And if partial reform is passed, and is allowed to be marketed as some grand success, that will push genuine reform back another generation or more. Partial reform cannot be celebrated. If we do get partial reform, we must wake up the next day determined to fix it. But that's what worries me. Because I see so many, even in the liberal blogs, writing that partial reform will cover them or their loved ones, yet I rarely see them writing that even if they do get covered, they will remain as passionate and determined to ensure that those still excluded soon won't be.

The insurance industry is relying on the personal selfishness of those who do get covered to prevent any expansion of reform. If something does have to happen, the industry wants it to be as limited as possible. So, if something does have to happen, the industry wants it to include just enough people who then will be complacent enough about those still excluded to ensure that further reforms don't have to happen. The question is where that line will be drawn. The question is for each of us to find, in our own souls. How much is enough? Will you be satisfied, if you get covered, even if many others don't get covered? Will you have the same passion for reform, even if it no longer affects you, personally? To some of us, nothing will be enough until everyone is covered. If you don't feel the same, I don't care about your personal story. I want you to be covered, regardless. But I want everyone else to be covered, too. And if you're going to be complacent about reform for others once you get covered, I'd rather you don't get covered at all, until everyone else is, too.

Nobody should be excluded. Nobody should be satisfied, as long as anybody is excluded. Partial reform will be satisfactory only if it is recognized as such. Partial reform will be satisfactory only if it doesn't diminish the determination to complete the process. This must be but the first step. This must be recognized as but the first step. The mediocre and the inadequate must not become the enemies of the good.

Turkana :: 5:43 AM :: Comments (34) :: Digg It!