One of the elements of “change” that many Americans voted for was real reform for our health care system. We voted for lawmakers who would move this country away from health insurance lobbyists and toward a health care system that is open and fair to everyone.
Some of us were hopeful that America would join the rest of the industrialized world by creating a single payer system – or a Medicare system for everyone. Sadly, it doesn’t look like real “change” we can believe in will happen. Once again, the lobbyists in Washington, from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries as well as Wall Street, are exerting their power and control over the people we have elected.
Instead of representing us, as they are supposed to, these lawmakers choose to take funding for their ever-continuing political campaigns from corporate lobbyists who have sold their souls to keep the health insurance industry in control of the American people. It’s no surprise that health insurers are the only private companies allowed to create and maintain monopolies (which would violate Federal anti-trust laws for any other businesses). The health insurance industry has bought the votes of politicians – both in Washington and at the local level – to keep them unregulated and above the rules that apply to everyone else!
Congress is moving ever closer to passing a health care bill. There is no doubt that a bill will be passed. But, unless the American People speak up soon, and in one loud voice, the bill that finally reaches the President’s desk will only benefit the health insurance cartel.
Once the melding of the House and Senate bills takes place – most likely behind closed doors – we’ll feel and see the influence of insurance industry lobbyists:
- Any hope for a public insurance plan or Medicare for all will be watered down or a very limited afterthought;
- Everyone will be forced – via Federal law – to purchase a private insurance policy;
- The insurance industry itself will be allowed to continue gouging Americans because lawmakers, who are largely funded by them, are unwilling to regulate them;
- If there is a public plan, states will be allow to opt out of it which will be a boon to the insurance companies. In many states, only one insurance company controls most of the market without competition. These insurance companies, who fund local lawmakers, will influence them to opt their state out of the public plan.
Why not Medicare for all? Why not a single payer system? Why can’t the United States develop a viable and fair health care system for its citizens like every other major country?
There is one reason – the influence of the health insurers who will do anything to maintain their power and control. These health insurers will buy votes to water down legislation or completely block it. They will purchase minions who will become their mouthpieces to confuse issues, turn lies into truth, and cripple reform through propaganda.
“Public option” has become a dirty word because of propaganda. “Single payer” is equated to “socialism” and “communism” because of lies.
The truth is that most other developed and industrial countries have a single payer plan which is funded either publicly or privately, or a combination of both. Nations who enjoy single payer include:
- Almost all of Europe
- The U.K.
- See the complete list here
Another truth is that some Americans already enjoy the benefits of a single payer plan. If you are on Medicare, you are in a single payer plan.
Ironically, some of those on Medicare, we saw this summer, were the loudest voices defending Medicare but yet shouting down the “public option” which would essentially be Medicare for all. It’s not that these people shouting down the public plan at town hall meetings were greedy to deny others the same benefits they already enjoy. No, not greed on their parts. But it was a demonstration of the greed and power of influence of industry lobbyists to twist the truth and confuse the issue.
It’s time for all of us to become informed about health care and to discern the truth from the myths. Here is a good place to start to begin debunking the lies: healthactionnow.org.
Here are some other links:
- To learn about universal health care, single payer systems, and a list of nations currently providing single payer (including Medicare, SCHIP, & TRICARE in the U.S.): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_health_care#United_States
- Two letters to the editor from Americans with interesting information about health care: