Blog & Reviews

Current Health Care Options are Empty Political Strategies

May 3, 2017 | Blog | 0 comments


Both the Defense of Obamacare (by the Democrats) and Repeal and Replace (by some Republicans) are empty political strategies

Yet again we are fast approaching a moment when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will allegedly be voting on the so-called “American Health Care Act”.  The Rs have been campaigning for six years on a promise to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare.  And the Ds have been promising to defend Obamacare down to their last standing Member of Congress.  Listening to mainstream media, one would conclude that there exists a vast gulf between the two parties when it comes to health care policy, with Obamacare the center point of the contention.  Supposedly, the congressional election in 2018 hangs in the balance.  Will the American voter reject the Rs because they have gutted Obamacare?  Or will the Ds continue to pay a price at the polls for Obamacare, which has been so unpopular?

All of this congressional melodrama, however, is covering over a stark reality: there is no real difference between health policy proposals made by Ds and Rs.  Both parties, over many decades, have repeatedly supported ‘coverage’ initiatives, extending ‘coverage’ for some kind of health benefit to a group of disadvantaged Americans at the expense of the taxpayer.  Truman and Eisenhower began this game by making permanent the tax credits given to employers who extended health benefits to employees and their dependents.  This has always been the largest taxpayer largesse for health care ‘coverage’, and remains so to this day.  LBJ extended this ‘coverage’ game by signing legislation creating Medicare and Medicaid, which remain the two largest taxpayer-funded health benefit programs.  Clinton signed the legislation creating CHIP, which had been legislatively fathered by Senators Hatch and Kennedy.  Clinton failed to pass his managed competition proposal for universal health care due to fierce opposition from the Rs in Congress, who countered with a proposal of their own, which eventually became first Romneycare in Massachusetts, and then Obamacare.  George W. Bush proposed expanding Medicare to ‘cover’ pharmaceutical benefits during his first campaign for president, and signed the legislation during his first term.  All of these various ‘coverage’ initiatives share the overarching goal of propping up the private, for-profit health insurance business model.  Both parties defend, support, laud, embrace, and otherwise shill for American health insurance.  Now comes the American Health Care Act, which, like all of its predecessors, seeks to coddle and care for America’s health plans while American patients are forced to pay more for health financing which demonstrably provides less and less care.

‘Coverage’ from health insurance is wasteful, expensive, and uncaring.  In other words, it is the most useless way to pay for healthcare ever invented.  Without government propping up over many years, health insurance would long ago have been relegated to the scrap heap of history.  American health care costs are substantially higher than health care costs in any other nation, largely because of the wasteful business practices of American health insurers.  Overhead in American health care financing costs as much as $500 billion yearly in excess of other nations expenses.  Poor practices of American health insurance lead to poor quality in American health care delivery, including inappropriate care, patient injury, and failure to consistently follow known clinical science in the care of patients.  Poor quality practices in US healthcare delivery costs our nation $700 billion.  Coverage initiatives have always simply continued these wasteful business practices.  Both Rs and Ds, as supporters of coverage initiatives, are responsible for the loss of over $1 trillion annually due to poor quality and administrative waste.  Whether defending Obamacare or supporting ‘repeal and replace’ in the form of The American Health Care Act, Rs and Ds currently in Congress are simply extending their losing streak on health care policy.

Real health system reform must target the wasteful business practices of American health insurance.  In fact, real health system reform will eliminate the private, for-profit health insurance business model from US healthcare delivery.  We must make health care better (higher quality) and health financing simpler, thus making overall health care costs cheaper.  That will lead to health care for all being cheaper.  The health policy that makes all of this possible:  single-payer health system financing.  Thus #bettersimplercheaper #healthcareforall is #singlepayer.

—How can we Americans make this happen?  Simple, stop buying what politicians on both sides of the aisle are selling.  Whether your member of Congress is a D who is defending Obamacare, or an R who is supporting the American Health Care Act (or Trumpcare), they are doing the same thing–supporting the US health insurance industry.  Don’t vote for them ever again.  Throw them out of office.  Stop sending donations to their campaigns.  Look for candidates who support single-payer health system reform.

Single payer health care is at the same time the most conservative and the most progressive health care policy.  Single payer is fiscally conservative.  Passage of a single-payer health policy would, alone among all possible approaches, solve the federal fiscal deficit by saving as much as $1 trillion per year.  Single payer is morally conservative, fulfilling the scriptural command to care for the ill and injured.  Single payer is constitutionally conservative if it is passed as a state-based policy, fulfilling the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.  Single payer is progressive, providing for the health care needs (no one needs health insurance) of all Americans without regard to ability to pay.

So, if you support Pres. Trump, remember that he voiced his support for single-payer health care before he was a candidate for president.  Support single payer just like he does.  If you don’t support Pres. Trump, remember that his predecessor in the White House supported single payer before he was a candidate for president.  Support single payer just like Obama.  Supporting single payer means not supporting most of the current members of Congress.  Throw them out of office.  Let’s hire a Congress that will get beyond the silly arguments about how best to prop up American health insurance.