So let us get back to business. The Health Care Summit that took place does not appear to have changed things one way or another, at least according to the various pundits and news outlets. I was able to catch some of it and it was disappointing to hear how poor the bill is.
Even taking some of the misinformation out of the equation, the Democrats totally screwed this up. As Rep. Ryan from Wisconsin (R) so intelligently stated, the deficit containment and/or reducing nature of the bill is highly suspect when only 6 of the 10 years of its implication are budgeted. Obama had no response for that. And I do not know whether this was discussed, but the mandate seems very problematic to me without a public option or some other mechanism in place to adequately curtail insurance costs.
It just does not make any sense to force 30 million Americans to buy insurance from the very companies that the President and so many others in Washington have been hailing as a major part of the problem. This is why the insurance companies want reform: They are going to get PAID!! Yes, the purchasers will be subsidized, but the insurance companies still profit and still have no serious competition pressuring them to lower premiums and provide a better service.
I started out thinking reform of any kind would be beneficial to the American public and to Obama, politically speaking. I still tend to think that is the case if the bill passes, but I am now a complete supporter of the single-payer system and am convinced our health care system will never be ideal until we all have access to a Medicare type system. This bill is only a band-aid.
We would be wise to model a single-payer system after the French system, which provides universal coverage but still relies on private medical providers and gives people freedom to choose those providers. In addition, private insurance companies still compete with the government. This is pretty much how our system now works except that we do not have universal coverage. But we do have Medicare, which functions basically the same way as the entire French system does: Empoloyers, employees and the self-employed (and other taxes) pay into the pool that the government draws out of to pay for services, with private doctors providing care. Why not just extend Medicare to everyone!!
Some legislators have proposed this and have been advocating for it for awhile, but they are dismissed as radical leftists and not invited to the table, or yesterday’s summit. The sad thing is that eventually this will happen, and it will work well, and everyone will wonder why we did not do it sooner. We will have mostly ourselves to blame, with assists from the main-stream media.
When will we wise up?
Update: And right on cue and elaborating on my last point about us, the American public, being ultimately responsible for our mess, Newsweek posts this article.