To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, October 25, 2020

New Observercast

It’s Not Socialized Medicine, Stupid

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BY KENNY BELFORD

It’s obvious the health care industry is not willing to “reform” itself. Just as the financial institutions and stock market demonstrated, the honor system doesn’t seem like such a swell concept in actual practice. Regulations generated by legislation and enforced by regulators is the only viable method to establish a reasonable approach to gaining control of escalating costs.

The issue of 47 million Americans with no health insurance is a shameful statistic that needs to be addressed and resolved. Private, for-profit carriers have had decades to influence a change, but have resisted at every level.

Now there is overwhelming support among Americans to take up this issue and fix it with a public option. Creating an option through a national pool would lower the cost, and bring it down to a level individuals priced out of the market could absorb.

The private, for-profit insurance companies have refused to do it, so our only other recourse is through the government.

Actually, this doesn’t require the creation of something all that new. We already have a national health insurance plan that federal employees, including our representatives, belong to.

It’s been reported the health insurance industry is so fearful of having competition – even for the 47 million Americans that can’t afford to purchase from them or are denied coverage because of a pre-existing conditions – that it has created a virtual army of lobbyists sweeping across Washington. News agencies have reported that they’re spending $1.5 million a day in an effort to buy support from our representatives to maintain the status quo. Experience has show us that dangling the moolah in front of our representatives is usually an effective and successful technique to secure their support. Maybe this time will be different.

As debate continues on this issue I would hope our elected officials bring forth an honest debate and leave the fear and distortions out of it. We’re not discussing “socialized medicine” or having the government run health care in America. The issue is not losing an individual choice of doctors; it’s about cost control and affordable health insurance.

If our elected officials genuinely hold a personal view that a public option for all Americans is so threatening and damaging for our country, then I would suggest they publicly demonstrate the depth of their convictions by voluntarily opting out of the federal health insurance program they’re currently receiving, but would deny to the rest of us.

Absent of that action it would seem any arguments against this measure would take on a hypocritical status.

Kenny Belford lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

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1 COMMENT

  1. I am glad that there is a healthy debate about this important issue. I read your article and found a few items that were not factually correct and would like to point them out.

    One) The number of people without health insurance is not 47 million. You will remember that Obama corrected his number of 47 down to 30 million during his campaign, but did not take into account people that choose not to have insurance because of wealth or good health (and usually being in their 20s with regards to health).

    Two) There was not “overwhelming support” for the passage of the bill. According to most reliable polls almost three-fourths of America was against the legislation. It is also interesting to note that there was bi-partisan support against the bill and no-bipartisan support for the bill. And when it looked like the bill would not pass by normal measures in the last minutes the political party in power took measures into their own hands to run it through congress.

    Three) You never heard a lot of backlash from the big insurance companies because they can afford to compete against the government. What has happened is that the crunch has been put on small and medium sized insurance companies who do not have the cash assets to compete with the big boys or an organization that can print its own money. In short, the bigger companies have become more able to determine price and services.

    Four) Health care costs have gone up while coverage has gone down in a noticeable and marked way since implementation of the bill began. In fact, some firms have even been reducing or getting rid of other insurance benefits (such as life insurance) for their employees to make sure that they can pay for the new system.

    Five) Our national representatives have a different health care plan that most Federal employees (which is unconstitutional by the way). And our Federal employees would not have any health care plan with out wealth generated from the private sector. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from someone else. The current hiring freeze, salary freeze and relatively new practice of hiring contractors (i.e. we don’t need to give you benefits because you are a 1099) by the Federal government don’t speak of sustainability. This is of course because giving anything out “for free” is not sustainable.

    The argument between centrally directed coercion vs. the voluntary cooperation of individuals has been proven time and again to be in everyone’s best interests. This can be clearly seen in the development of our modern health care system. In the last 40 years have we had more or less regulation and during that same time have costs gone up or down in regards to medical care? It is a fact that regulations have increased dramatically in the last 40 years and it is a fact that associated costs have risen. To deny this fact is to throw basic math out the window.

    In a country as rich as ours everyone should have the opportunity for health insurance if they choose to have it, but like Adrian Rogers said “you cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.” Most of the 350 million Americans are prosperous. Let’s keep it that way by letting the individual decide when, where and how to invest his resources on their own behalf.

    all the best,

    Christopher
    Seattle, Washington

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.