Did Anyone Notice The ‘Health Insurance Mandate’?

The wingnuts on both sides of the health insurance debate as well as the ditherers in the middle have all been quiet as little mice about the fact that two of the major bills on health care reform force people to buy insurance and the third bill is leaning that way.

And if you don’t buy insurance you get forced to pay a fine.

The only people exempt from this would be poor people, whose insurance payments would be subsidized by the government.

That sounds like a good way to incentivize poverty, not to mention create it. (Insurance for a family of four in Maine runs about $20,000 a year.)

What these mandates do is force you to give your hard-earned money to insurance companies. Those companies will immediately skim twenty or thirty percent off the top to pay for obscene executive salaries and perks and huge overhead, and then they will immediately start looking for ways to deny you care when you need it. They’ll tuck those little tidbits of information in your file, keep taking your money, and then when you need health care they’ll pull out the flags and say you can’t get your money for your care because you had acne thirty years ago.

Apparently most people in the United States like that system because they seem desperate to keep it, so desperate that they’re willing to let the government force them to participate in it.

But it gets worse.

The bills also mandate (read ‘force’) businesses to pay for insurance for their employees, or pay fines.

That means that workers will get less pay and still have to fight the health insurance companies to get health care.

And it means that the businesses will be burdened with a cost that guarantees they will be at a disadvantage competing with the rest of the advanced nations (oh, say, Europe for instance) where business doesn’t labor under those added costs. The shining example is the American automobile industry, where every car carries a premium of $1500 to pay for health insurance costs. Ever wonder why the Japanese corralled the American market with better cars?

The further insanity is that all these programs depend on the good will of the insurance industry and the drug industry, the same corporate imperialists who have been screwing the people for decades, and who own most of the politicians involved in putting these bills together. And our newly minted President of Hope and Change tells us he’s made deals with them and trusts them to keep their word.

Talk about a weak sister. He came on as a community organizer, a street guy who knew his way around, a fighter for justice who could walk the walk and talk the golden talk. Turns out that not only is he not a street fighter, he’s up against the gutter fighting liars of the Republican party and he can’t handle it. All he does is back away from the confrontation, hoping they’ll decide to play nice. Health care reform needs a gutter fighter, not a piecemeal Neville Chamberlain.

As a result, here’s the deal the President and Congress think is the bee’s knees. Hand over a ton of your money to insurance companies for a song and a promise, and maybe some minimal regulation, and then Mr. Obama will claim he’s solved the health care crisis.

There’s a better way.

The government runs a couple of pretty good, but not perfect, health care programs, Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA system for veterans. So they can do that, and have and can weed out fraud and such.

Instead of forcing citizens to hand their money over to insurance companies whose sole goal is to make as much profit as they can, why not tax citizens (at considerably less cost to the citizen than insurance premiums) and provide them with good health care through whatever is determined to be the most effective means for each person?

It’s proven cost effective, here in Medicare, and abroad in a variety of forms. It takes the anti-competitive burden off business. It relieves doctors of having to pay extra staff and spend extra time wading through differing forms and rules and regulations from dozens of insurance companies – that relief should save billions of dollars all by itself. It saves families money – they pay less up front and they don’t get socked with extra costs when sick.

It maintains freedom of choice. The citizen gets to keep his doctor, and he gets access to specialists when he needs them without having to fight some anonymous insurance bureaucratic drone. People can get sick without having to worry about going broke, or losing their home, or living in poverty the rest of their lives. And they likely will get healthier quicker because they don’t have to deal with the stress of fighting the insurance company.

Some variety of single-payer health care is the sensible and reasonable way to go. It works in the rest of the civilized world. It’s a no-brainer.

Or would be if most Americans had useful brains.

It’s ironic (no, irony isn’t dead yet) that Americans, who brag about their independent individuality, their Marlboro man psyches, are so pathetically easy to manipulate. Let the know-nothing fearmongers like Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly fling a few lies, toss around a few scare words, and those brave individualists turn into quivering, fearful mush. Let a silver-tongued orator like Obama float syllables of hope and change, and suddenly vast swaths of Americans think the world will be made right again with the wave of a wand.

The Lion thinks it’s because American education is sorely lacking the single most important element students need. Very few Americans know how to apply critical reasoning to the issues before them. Nobody ever taught them how. Without that knowledge, without applying that knowledge, Americans are easy marks for every huckster and shiny-suited demagogue that comes along.

The way things are going people will end up being forced, under law, to pay more for health insurance that provides them with subpar care whenever the corporations think they can get away with it, and the people will always be struggling financially because of this one major issue.

Go America! Rah rah rah! Idiots rule, money trumps sanity, and the Marlboro Man – well, he died of lung cancer.


11 Responses

  1. Instead of forcing citizens to hand their money over to insurance companies whose sole goal is to make as much profit as they can, why not tax citizens (at considerably less cost to the citizen than insurance premiums) and provide them with good health care through whatever is determined to be the most effective means for each person?

    1. Health insurance executives would not be able to continue getting richer than God, and
    2. It makes sense


    • Chappie, you’ve obviously gone over the edge when you say something I said makes sense.

      As for god, I do believe he failed to once again make the list of the world’s billionaires.


  2. God doesn’t have to make anyone’s list. He owns everything – he’s just letting the people who think they’re billionaires borrow his stuff for awhile.


    • Chappie, you’re talking as if he’s real. Do you need an intervention? The A&E channel might have an opening.


  3. Just thought I’d try out the old party line. It’s pretty lame, isn’t it?


    • Even as a crutch it’s lame. 🙂


  4. Not really, Chappie. The Indians always compared people ‘owning’ the Earth to fleas ‘owning’ their dog.
    I tend to rant on the subject of property – especially ‘real’ property -anyway.
    Steal the land. Resell it. Charge rent ( taxes ). Tell people how they can use their property ( Zoning ). Confiscate if rent unpaid.
    Almost as good a scam as inflating the money supply and charging tax on profits that are a bookkeeping anomaly.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/20/AR2009032003434.html Allies ‘out of troops’ in Afghan south
    “We can have a significant progress within three or five years”, one that would allow military forces to move from primarily a combat role to one mentoring and training Afghan security forces.
    ( Read that again. I take it as a clear statement that there is currently no real mission aside from killing. )


    • I’m not sure what it says about our actions when it appears that both Iraq and Afghanistan appear to be coming apart at the seams, and what those people really want is work that pays a decent wage to support their families. The Taliban pays them $8 a day to shoot at Americans and that’s the best offer on the table, so that’s what breadwinners do. We pay billions to put armies there that accomplish basically the creation of ‘terrorists’. We can’t create jobs and businesses there for that money?


  5. We can’t create jobs and businesses there for that money?

    We can’t even create jobs and businesses here. What makes you think we’d be able to do it there?


    • Because poor Afghanis are thrilled to get a job that pays ten dollars a day and would gladly labor in the sun and the cold for that instead of running around with guns playing ‘Taliban the Americans’.

      I can’t find the damn reference now, but there’s an organization that works to create jobs for Afghanis and what they do does work.


    • Here’s the link: Jobs for Afghans


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