Following up on Jonathan Alter’s brilliant piece on healthcare and the “status quo” I noted here yesterday is another brilliant op/ed on the subject from Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times: “What’s so great about private health insurance?”
[…]the battle is just beginning. After the committee vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that the health insurance industry will conduct a “shock and awe” campaign to kill the public option when Congress returns from vacation in September and starts debating the measure. We can expect to be overwhelmed with an industry ad campaign worth millions of dollars (remember Harry and Louise?) exhorting us to write our lawmakers to preserve the American way of healthcare.
So it’s proper to remind ourselves what that American way entails. For if the insurers have proved anything over the last 15 years as the health crisis has gathered speed like an avalanche roaring downhill, it’s that they’re part of the problem, not the solution.
The firms take billions of dollars out of the U.S. healthcare wallet as profits, while imposing enormous administrative costs on doctors, hospitals, employers and patients. They’ve introduced complexity into the system at every level. Your doctor has to fight them to get approval for the treatment he or she thinks is best for you. Your hospital has to fight them for approval for every day you’re laid up. Then they have to fight them to get their bills paid, and you do too.
The truth is there is nothing good about our healthcare system as it stands now.
We are getting screwed royally by health insurance companies and many are the American are too damn daft to get it. These folks really need to wake up and smell the coffee because “the public option may be your lifeline — if it’s enacted.” Insurance companies, right wing advocacy groups and Blue Dog Democrats don’t want you to know this, but:
Signs of the industry’s mobilization against the public option are everywhere. I don’t claim clairvoyance for having predicted this development back in March; given the industry’s record on reform, a child could have done so.
You’ve heard of the Blue Dog Democrats, those mostly rural conservatives who blocked a summertime vote on reform legislation on Capitol Hill? According to the Center for Public Integrity, the biggest backer of the Blue Dogs’ political action committee is the healthcare industry, which is on the path to pumping a total of $1.2 million into the PAC’s maw in the current 2009-10 election cycle.
Then there’s the advocacy group called the Campaign for an American Solution, which describes itself as “a grass-roots effort . . . to build support for workable healthcare reform.” The organization owns up to being an “initiative” of America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP, the industry’s chief lobbying arm. Unless I’ve missed a radical change in lawn and garden horticulture, you can’t get much further from the grass roots than to be a creation of the industry with the biggest stake in the debate.
Don’t let these groups roadblock healthcare for all. There’s too much at stake…