Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
Bad Public Options for Health Care A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
The more progressive Democrats in the House have vowed to hold out for a health care plan with a public option. However, insurance corporations are intent on extracting profit windfalls from the public options being crafted in both houses of Congress. What emerges may not be worthy of support under any circumstances.
 
Bad Public Options for Health Care
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“They are likely to create a sickly, deformed little troll of a bill.”
It’s always sad to watch the Democrats threaten to grow backbones following their latest humiliation at the hands of Republicans, Blue Dogs and the corporate class in general. Most often, whatever spinal growth that occurs amounts to no more than a residual tail bone above the butt – just a little stump, useless and not worth showing off. In the next weeks we should watch the Democrats in both houses of Congress very closely as they mount an effort to salvage something – anything – of the so-called “public” health care “option.” In the process of trying to save President Obama’s face and their own, they are likely to create a sickly, deformed little troll of a bill that actually lowers general health care standards while shoveling millions more consumers and hundreds of billions more dollars into private insurance companies.
Although the official line among the for-profit insurance mafia and their servants is that a public option, no matter how puny, is worse than death, the truth is, the insurance profiteers are licking their chops and shouting “Hallelujah!” in anticipation of a public option “bonanza.” According to the August 24 Los Angeles Times, the insurance industry is confident they can extract “windfall” profits from the Democrats, whose desperation to appear to be fighting for the public is matched only by their abject fear of doing real battle with the rich and powerful.
“The profiteers have been allowed to shape the so-called public plan to their private ends.”
The health care profiteers will be delighted to sign up the millions of people that would be compelled to buy some kind of private coverage. Already, the Senate Finance Committee is considering giving the OK to insurance policies that only pay for 65 percent of patients' health care bills. The bare-bones, two-thirds coverage would be marketed as “affordable.” What a cruel trick! Obama, the Congress and the corporate health care vultures get to claim they have found a way to provide millions with “affordable” health insurance, when in fact the 65 percent coverage is guaranteed to bankrupt any family that encounters event moderately serious health problems. Health insurance that doesn't actually cover health care isn't health insurance at all – it's a scam. And when the state coerces its citizens to participate in the private scam, that is the very definition of corruption.
At present, seven out of every ten families that go bankrupt for health reasons, had health insurance – but not a good enough policy to save them. Yet the profiteers demand a health “reform” that allows them to sell wholly inadequate policies to millions more people who will have no choice but to buy what is offered.
Health care experts warn that proliferation and subsidizing of limited-coverage insurance would inevitably lower the norm of standards for all insurance – the exact opposite of what was intended under health care reform.
President Obama claimed he wanted a public option to keep the insurance companies “honest.” Instead, the profiteers have been allowed to shape the so-called public plan to their private ends.
At last count, 64 Democrats had vowed not to sign onto any bill without a public option. But even bills that claim to be public options are shaping up as private boondoggles. Nothing good can come of it.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Direct download: 20090826_gf_BadPublicOptions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:40pm EDT