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