But I still fear that Washington "progressives" will cave to these bellowing fools that show up at the town halls. Some of those people are domestic terrorists, making death threats and painting swastikas on public property, all in the pursuit of damning their own best interests. Those are people who have talk radio blaring at them in their workplace or home and who, understandably angry at the status quo, have been duped by propaganda from the very insurance companies and big pharma that are ripping them off currently. The health care plans are not perfect, and the "public option" needs to remain in place to create a competitive environment. I'm going to post a couple of positive links here, in hopes of putting THAT in the universe instead of my nagging fear for our country.
Here's the White House page with videos answering questions:
And here's an article from an optimist:
Tuesday 18 August 2009
A primary care physician meets with patients at the Barron Center in Portland, Maine. (Photo: Emilie Sommer / USA Today)
Hasty headlines to the contrary, it is very likely that a strong public option will be part of a final health insurance reform bill when it finally passes Congress this fall. There are three reasons:
1). A Public Option is the most elegant and politically viable solution to a major practical problem. Three basic models have been adopted by Western industrial nations to provide universal health care to their populations.
The government can directly employ doctors and hospitals to provide service. That is the system they have in Britain where they spend 40% less per person on health care than in the U.S. and get pretty good reviews from their citizens. It's the same system that we use to provide health care to veterans through the Veterans Administration.
The government can provide heath insurance for everyone as it does in Canada - or as we do in the U.S. with Medicare. Medical practices and hospitals are in private hands, but the health insurance fund is managed by the government. Again, that system seems to work quite well and also does a good job at controlling costs.
The third approach is to require individuals and businesses to purchase insurance and leave it to private insurance companies to provide that coverage. The problem with this approach is that requires some mechanism to control costs. That is particularly true in the United States where insurance companies are one of only two industries (Major League Baseball being the other) that are excepted from the anti-trust laws that are aimed at insuring competitive markets. In fact, most major health insurance markets are dominated by two or three companies so there is no real competition - particularly with respect to price.
Once everyone is required to buy insurance, the companies can have a field day…