16 August 2009
Well, there we have it. Today the NYT started reporting that the White House is backing away from the “public option” in the healthcare reform making its way through congress. Non-profit “health care co-ops” are not a “public option”. We have had these sorts of plans in place already (see HealthPartners here in Minnesota, for example), but they cannot wield the clout to bring the insurance industry into line. The insurance industry has lost its way, its mission is no longer our healthcare, but rather profit. This industry stands between you and your doctor right now, working hard to prevent coverage of the care you need. The only tool in H.R. 3200 that even came close to holding this industry accountable was the public option.
With the public option gone, the main accomplishments of reform will be the requirement that individuals buy into an insurance plan and employers provide access to such a plan. Who wins? The very insurance industry that has failed this country for the last 40 years. The same industry that gives us the least effective most expensive healthcare of any industrial country in the world. This becomes a plan to increase their profits, not improve our health. This becomes a plan we should oppose.
The White House wants you to remember all the other things that this bill still does for you. Maybe. I am concerned that the insurance industry will find plenty of ways to game around these “protections”. The public option is something they would not be able to game around nearly as easily, that’s why they’ve opposed it so vigorously. We need to equal their vigor in it’s defense.