Public Comment

Health Care ‘Reform’ Is a Trojan Horse For the Health Insurance Industry

By Richard Phelps
Thursday January 07, 2010 - 08:39:00 AM

Imagine a headline “Federal Government Requires People to Buy Ford Pintos”—the ones with the exploding gas tanks. Those Pintos were clearly a defective product. And Ford decided not to make the changes to make it safe since they concluded that it would cost more to do that than the lawsuits to follow. Absolutely no concern for the lives lost in horrible fires when the Pintos were rear ended!  

Our current health care system is a Pinto. Except that it kills most of its victims by delays and denials. There is a lot of talk about many problems with the proposed legislation. This is detracting from the public fully grasping that the Democratic Party-controlled Congress and our “Change” President are “pimping” for the health care industry under the guise of reform! Have they put us all into such a deep trance that so few people are outraged about our “liberal” congresspeople pushing to pass a bill that will require everyone to buy a defective product or get penalized! Have they used the “right wing is against it” card to get us to want to support it? Seems that way. 

  Remember the analysis back in the late 1960s and early 1970s that only a Republican President could allow “Red China” into our “civilized world economic system”? Democrats would have been accused of being “soft on Commies.” And Nixon did it. I guess it follows that only a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress could get us to except subservience to the health insurance industry instead of health care for all like all the other industrial nations. If the Republicans tried it they would be accused of being “soft on corporations.” 

  The political spectrum has moved so far to the right since Reagan that unfortunately most Democratic Representatives are controlled by their corporate sponsors! Single payer was taken off the agenda from the start and the majority of Democrats went along with it, very few complained. And it was our “Change” President who took it off the agenda!   

Why would any rational person want to send more people into a system that is “sicko” to the max! Why would any rational person accept sending billions of our tax dollars to insurance companies that take 30 percent off the top for executive bonuses and a huge staff to send out denial letters? Oh, I forgot we are the sheep that allowed $700+ billion of our tax dollars to be given to the greedy bankers and investment folks that caused the financial crisis, too big to fail but never too big to steal from us. And what did we get for that? New million dollar bonuses for the crooks that sucked the blood out of our financial system, and little or no help for the people being foreclosed and/or laid off.  

Now our government—“the best that corporate money can buy”—wants to send all the uninsured folks, estimated at 30+ million to the people that set the stage for the movie Sicko, with tax subsidies and little or no regulations. I have no problem paying higher taxes to get everyone good health care. I think most of us would pay less new taxes than our current premiums. People that get “coverage” at work could translate that savings into higher pay. All the studies show that it can be done with the savings from cutting the huge “claim denied” staff and outrageous executive salaries and bonuses that wouldn’t be required by a Medicare for All system—system that has much less cost for overhead, and gives us health care, not “coverage” that seems to evaporate just when it is needed.  

The sad reality is that instead of developing a system that would allow us to take the hundreds of millions spent on health care lobbyists and use it for medical care, their increased revenue under this bill, much from our tax dollars, will be used to increase their lobbying power to prevent fair regulation and to possibly provide less health care for the dollars paid into the current corrupt system than we currently get. So much for the “we need to get this started” and “we can fix it later” snake oil being sold by our elected representatives. You don’t/can’t reform a corrupt system by giving its greedy leaders much more money to use against you.  

Once we start a practice of allowing our government to require that we buy a private company product that is grossly defective we are on that slippery slope to government and business being one in their domination of our society. There is a name for that and it starts with an “F.” Do you think the Patriot Act, allowing torture and ATT tapping all our phones for the government, etc. isn’t leading us that way?  

Call your Congressional representatives and demand that we not subsidize the health care industry with billions of tax dollars spent on a defective product. Demand real health care reform. Reform that will increase health care not the number of lobbyists. Join and/or support single payer groups. You can find them on the web, just Google single payer.  


Richard Phelps is an Oakland attorneey and mediator.