This essay is in response to the article, “Checkup” by Ryan Burns in The Journal (Humboldt County, CA):
Thank you, Ryan Burns, for “Checkup” on the new health care law. Oh, yes, it’s true: It IS “better than nuthin’.” But, wait! Doesn’t any one stop to wonder why we must settle for such a pittance when our economy, our health and often our very lives depend on finding a real solution to the healthcare crisis?
Yes, there are some very good features in the new legislation. Medi-Cal and Healthy Families in Humboldt County are rescued temporarily, and there will be some controls put on the mega-powered insurance companies that make life altering, financial judgments on our healthcare needs. Naughty insurance companies! They will have to pay fines now if they abrogate these new rules!
But guess what choices they’ll make when the fines they pay are cheaper than playing by the rules (giving you the health care you need)? Did anyone wonder why the stock values of the big insurance companies shot up when the legislation was passed? Did anyone wonder why they were so willing to get on board with the new law? Could it be the thousands and thousands of new customers who must soon buy health insurance?
Insurance companies will make even more money under this new deal. They will continue to raise rates across the nation and here in California, despite a new bill before our Senate that seeks to examine their rationale for rate hikes. And costs for health care will continue to spiral out of control.
The fact is, for-profit health insurance is the deal breaker. There is no feasible way to offer low-cost, effective, universal health care to the public with private insurance as a middleman. As much as 30% of every dollar we spend on insurance is eaten up by administrative costs, advertising, bonuses, mega-salaries, etc. Everything our governing bodies try to do to co-exist with this paradigm is nothing more than fingers in the dike. Because the insurance companies suck up the healthiest and wealthiest of the population, the burden of care and risk is borne by our government, which means, in case you have forgotten – US, the taxpayers.
We are already paying for health care for the poor and ill among us who are denied preventive care, and are driven to use emergency rooms for primary care. We are already paying through the state’s endless stop-gap programs that take up the slack created by Big Insurance hoarding all the no-risk clients.
There is only one rational solution. Everybody in, nobody out. We are all in this together. Together we can make it work by creating a single-payer model similar to systems adopted by many other developed nations, but tailored to our specific needs. There is currently a bill before our state legislature that would institute such a program. SB 810 (sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno) is NOT socialized medicine, but a gold-standard system. It offers full-choice, private delivery of care, public funding and stewardship.
SB 810 is fiscally sound, will control cost increases, is affordable for all, promotes better health, and will stimulate business by creating jobs, promoting productivity, and delivering the state from its financial meltdown. California can no longer afford NOT to adopt this kind of system. Check it out at http://californiaonecare.org and let’s join the rest of the civilized world that sees taking care of its citizens not as a means to obscene profits for some, but as a moral obligation to all.