Friday, June 5, 2009


The Trigger

At the end of the day, when you strip away all the distractions, the battle for health care reform is a battle of powerful special interests protecting obscene and expanding profits at the expense of the health and welfare of Americans.

At the end of the day, our government will have to choose to side with the special interests or with the American people.
There will be no successful middle-ground reform as there is no middle ground. Any attempt at such is nothing but smoke and mirrors that will serve only to delay the reform that President Obama said, “is not a luxury that can be postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait”
The special interests of the health sector are unyielding. Their power is great, and their track record knows nothing of defeat.  Historically, for decades, they have successfully staved off any, and all, attempts at reform. They are again prepared to win.
After three months of 2009, the health sector has reported $127 million in lobbying expenditures. That is on pace to break the record $487 million spent by the sector on lobbying in 2008 and the congressional debate has yet to be fully engaged.” 
It is early on and already the battle for reform favors the health sector. The public option is losing ground and substance.
The public health insurance option was devised to compete with private insurance on cost, efficiency, quality, and making its customers healthier, where now the industry only competes on who can attract patients who are healthiest, or who can deny costly medical claims the best to create the biggest profit.  With a new player focused on lower costs, better quality and more transparency, the HMOs will need to either adapt or die.”
The latest watered down plan floating around Washington comes from Senator Olympia Snow (R)-Maine. It would rely on the health sector to reform itself. NYTimes columnist Robert Pear described it this way: ”the public plan would be created only if private insurance companies had not made meaningful, affordable coverage available to all Americans within several years.” Ie: If, at some unspecified time in the future, insurance companies failed to meet vague, unspecified criteria or benchmarks, it would ‘trigger’ the implementation of the public option; implying, that the future threat of a public option would drive reform.
Does anyone take this seriously?
What criteria that we don’t already have could possibly pull the trigger? Unaffordable insurance rates? Skyrocketing health care costs? Skyrocketing rates of medical bankruptcies? Skyrocketing rates of uninsured and underinsured Americans? Increasing rates of denial of care or coverage?
Are they saying that things have to get even worse before they get better?

1 comment:

gramma said...

The HMOs are the 'flaws'in the ointment. Why they are not recognized as such, amazes me. I guess money talks and talks and talks.