Feminist Friday: The 8 Million and 12th Reason For Single-Payer Health Care Is…
Posted March 30, 2012on:
It appears from this week’s discussions at the Supremely Conservative Court, that Obama’s Health Whatever Bill is soon to be either overturned, or eviscerated to the point that it can’t pay for the few enhancements it actually offers. The Huffington Post reports:
“Shock and awe” best describes the reaction of legislators and commentators upon hearing the Supreme Court’s closing day of arguments on the constitutionality of Obama’s health care legislation. Democrats as well as the beltway media had assumed the bill was safe, thinking that the legislation fit firmly under the Congressional power of the Interstate Commerce Clause and that justices would be wary of repercussions of single-handedly dismantling the most expansive social legislation since the creation of Medicare.
How wrong they were. From the same justices that brought you Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (the decision that ruled that corporations, like individuals, are protected by the first amendment, which resulted in the unleashing of a wave of super PACS in this year’s elections) and Bush v. Gore, now comes the very real possibility of the end of health care reform.
Reporters, commentators and Democratic legislators were stunned by the Court’s turn. CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin called today “a train wreck for the Obama administration.” Toobin said, “this morning was unbelievable. It was like a given that they’re throwing out the mandate. Anthony Kennedy was like, ‘Well, when we throw out the mandate…’ — Do you know what a huge deal that is?” Although shaken, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned that we couldn’t draw any conclusions yet, saying that justices ask lots of questions in many different directions, but that doesn’t mean they’ve made up their minds.
The logistical problem is that if the Court strikes down the mandate, the rest of the law may unravel for financial reasons. Obama’s new citizen protections, such a requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions, a ban on charging more for those with complicated health problems and the removal of insurance payout caps on medical services, are all supported by the insurance premiums of new people entering the market through the mandate.
You have to wonder if these Beltway Bozos ever read anything they don’t already agree with, or listen to their Republican colleagues during those long, LONG sessions in the House and Senate. “Obamacare” has been in their sights since 2010 (the Tea Party won many seats because of its promise to overturn the hated “socialist” bill), and they all seemed pretty confident that their friends on the Supreme Court would grant their desires. Were the Democrats truly so naive that they thought people like Scalia would actually consider the bill on its merits? Or are they just mugging for the cameras? Either way, it’s a truly pitiful sight to see the way both Parties have made a horrible joke out of such an incredibly important issue.
But many single-payer advocates aren’t upset. They are hopeful that the probable destruction of the Health Whatever Bill will lead to the change the system really needs: a bill that truly overhauls the way Americans pay for, and access, health care.
Premiums in “Obamacare” are based on a large pool of both healthy and unhealthy people sharing the costs of insurance for all. This is much like the car insurance pools many states have, which make sure that insurance is available to all.
If you take away the larger pool, all that is left are the people with conditions that require ongoing care, or are more prone to diseases, such as the elderly. In other words, the most expensive customers in the health insurance market make up the bulk of the pool. For insurance companies to continue to pay claims and still make a profit, they will have to raise premiums dramatically.
So how does this lead to a U.S. single payer healthcare system?
In a relatively short period of time, millions more Americans will not be able to afford health insurance. Even people who get insurance through there employers may have to drop coverage as increasing premiums are passed along through payroll deductions. With pressure on politicians to solve the problem of health care for few but the wealthy, they may have few options other than to turn to an expansion of Medicare and Medicaid.
While some might say this is an overly optimistic take on the situation, I think it’s actually pretty realistic. If you talk to anyone who has experience in the health care industry (not the health INSURANCE industry), they will all say the same thing: health care costs in America are rising at a rate that is untenable. If they continue to rise unchecked, then the industry will implode within just a few years because they won’t have enough paying customers to survive. That’s why the insurance industry allowed the Health Whatever Bill to pass: they got lifelong income, guaranteed – AND they didn’t have to conform to any sort of pricing standards. It was a huge win for them; they could buy themselves a few more years of relevancy before they retired to their chalets on the French Riviera.
In any case, when health insurance does self-destruct in an orgy of greed, so will our current for-profit system. What will come next? I don’t know about you, but I plan to make a lot of noise about Medicare for All. It’s just tragic that our political system is so corrupted, that it might take a countrywide crisis for us to do what every other civilized country has done for decades.
This is an open thread. (Widdershins Lounge tonight – drinks, soft and hard, for all!)
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