Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Drink The Koolaid

Today's Los Angeles Times contains an editorial which demonstrates just how badly we've been had in the whole push for health care reform. The "center-left" editorial board, unfortunately, is totally oblivious to the basis for the monstrosity about to be foisted on the American public.

In referencing the despicable and patently contrived study bought from Price Waterhouse by the insurance industry, the editorial uses language which makes it clear that the Times just doesn't get it.

The insurance industry waited remarkably long to open fire, given that one of the goals of the overhaul is to stop insurers from doing many of the things they do to improve their bottom lines. Every one of the proposals for comprehensive reform tries to stop insurers from cherry-picking customers and denying claims on flimsy pretexts. But insurers backed the Obama administration's reform efforts at first because their interests aligned with those of doctors, hospitals and consumers in support of three interlocking aims: to extend coverage to all Americans, rein in rising costs and improve quality. Universal insurance coverage would bring millions of new customers to the companies and broaden the risk pool, raising insurers' revenue and spreading their costs over a wider base. [Emphasis added]

And that language continues throughout the editorial:

Simply pumping more dollars into subsidies and jacking up the penalties for noncompliance, however, isn't the solution. Subsidies may need to be higher than the Finance Committee proposed, but Congress should also give the market flexibility to develop more affordable options for coverage, such as less expensive policies that cover major expenses, not routine ones.

A related idea promoted by the left-of-center think tank Third Way is to reduce the minimum benefits the legislation would require insurers to provide, which should lessen the cost of coverage. Lowering the minimum benefit level would raise out-of-pocket costs for many consumers, but that's a fair trade-off for more affordable options and fewer uninsured. Making the mandatory coverage less expensive would give consumers more reason to comply. So too would allowing insurers to impose waiting periods for new policies. Such steps would help produce a meaningful individual mandate, which is vital -- not just to insurers but to the effort to deliver more accessible and affordable healthcare.
[Emphasis added]

As the past six months have rolled by it is clear that this "reform" had absolutely nothing to do with universal access to health care, but rather everything to do with universal insurance coverage, and in private insurance coverage to boot. The insurance companies were only too happy to stay at the table this go-round because from the start a single payer government system, modeled after Medicare and Medicaid was off the table. They only got itchy it began to look like the bought and paid-for promise to exclude a "public option" run by the government was about to be broken because of some serious pressure being brought to bear by the the very public whose interests were being ignored. That's why the Price Waterhouse report suddenly appeared.

Congress and the White House have just spent six months debating the best way to increase the bottom line of the insurance companies, not the best way to provide access to affordable health care. And the results of all that debate will not change a thing, at least for the better. And that's shame. The only consolation I have, and it's a personal one, is that in one year, 9 months and 3 weeks I qualify for Medicare. That policy is one I can afford.

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Blogger chicago dyke said...

welcome to the Desert of the Real*, Diane. or rather, you've always been out here with us, it's a shame we don't count in the HCR debate. only Serious People who want to protect those helpless insurance companies get any play. but thanks for pointing out what is obvious to all thinking people, who unfortunately don't happen to occupy the Village.

* a line from the movie "The Matrix"

4:34 AM  
Anonymous larry, dfh said...

And more up-front expenses for the patients means that enlarged prostate doesn't get noticed, and the diabetes doesn't get controlled, and the colonoscopy doesn't happen. This will surely raise health care costs overall.
As crazy as it sounds, I think that the possibility of jail-time for non-compliance is a little trick to continue high private prison occupancy, as more and more states are moving to get the small time pot possessor out of the criminal system.

7:22 AM  

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