I’m going to respond to the following comment on the front page, here:
commodorejohn said: Man, Jabberwock, you’re usually pretty good about being fair, but…damn. Is it that hard to acknowledge that at least some of us just don’t want the government running it? That maybe not everybody who’s opposed to your positions is some sort of capitalist-fetish lunatic who would fellate the corporate world if they could? Is it so hard to understand that some of us would just rather keep our options open than trust the federal government to look after our good health the way they look after our privacy and financial solvency? Christ.
Allow me to put this into perspective for you:
TENS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE in this country — myself included, along with some friends of mine, one of whom needs prescription meds filled on a regular basis — are LIVING WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE. Which means that we are either GOING WITHOUT HEALTHCARE, or we are BEING BANKRUPTED BY and CHARGED OUT THE ASS for NECESSARY MEDICAL EXPENSES.
Think about the private health insurance business model for a moment: The only way they can make any money is to ensure that their customers get as little coverage as possible. It’s not about actually providing anyone health coverage. The ultimate truth of the matter is that the insurance industry has absolutely NOTHING to do with healthcare — it’s just a middle man that exploits the fact that people need medical care throughout their lives in order to continue living.
Now, if our goal is to allow this particular rent-seeking industry to profit at the expense of human lives, then great — we’re doing an awesome job, and our system should be commended for getting a portion of the population to pay substantial amounts of money for a service where the bulk of what’s being paid goes toward ensuring that the customer doesn’t actually get the service they’re paying for through whatever loopholes are intentionally written into the policy. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! *trumpets* *fanfare* *Romanesque chariots being driven through rose-petal parades*
But if our goal is to actually ensure maximal healthcare availability to everyone, regardless of their income or employment status, then we’re total failures.
So we need to examine our priorities: It’s the insurance industry or it’s our health — we can’t have both, because the former ONLY THRIVES WHEN THEY DENY US THE LATTER. Do we provide healthcare, or do we facilitate the exploitation of human lives by the insurance industry? That’s what this is all about.
And then there’s the issue of workers’ rights. Businesses have a sort of bargaining wild card in that they can control whether or not you have health insurance. During any kind of negotiation for better pay (until they recently raised it, the Minimum Wage actually decreased in value, corrected for inflation, since the mid-1900s) or treatment or whatever else, a business can always threaten to take away employees’ health benefits.
Why should your boss have the power to decide whether you live or die? Whether you can get your cancer screening this month? Whether you can afford dialysis? And why should you be forced to stay at a job that’s unfair or unsafe or uncomfortable or that you otherwise hate just because if you leave, you might either a) not get health insurance at your next job, or b) not be able to get coverage after you lose your current plan because of a pre-existing condition?
And yeah, it’s easy to say “well I have insurance so why should I care?” but in this economy, maybe it’s a good idea to remember that no job is permanent.
So yeah, you might have health coverage right now, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed it for the rest of your life. Under a single-payer healthcare system, you WOULD BE, whether you got laid off tomorrow or you were born with cancer or you just found out you have lupus or whatever else. And under our current system, that’s very much not the case. So why perpetuate it? Really, why?
Why pay deductibles? Why get less pay because your employer’s taking a cut out of it to pay for part of your insurance plan? Why pay for a service whose primary business model is to deny you that service?
So, yes, it really is “so hard to understand”. Especially when what you’re basically doing is condemning me and millions of others to death should we happen to not remain absolutely healthy until we hit our sixties and Medicare kicks in.
I completely respect your right to your opinions. I just don’t want them to kill me and tens of millions of other Americans is all.
Hope your job lasts forever, by the way. Good luck with that one. And if you do happen to get laid off or fired or too sick to work or your employer decides it has to cut back on your coverage or the myriad other things that can (and do, I’m sorry to say) go wrong, I really do hope that you and your then-uninsured family remain perfectly healthy until you can either find another job that offers health insurance or we can actually pass a plan that would guarantee you (and everyone!) healthcare.