Monday, June 22, 2009

Political Obedience

And the grand corporations say "sit... Sit! SIT!"

"Good little politico. Have a campaign contribution."

When will we see the influence of money leave politics? Will there have to be a revolution? Will the Supremes finally remember that money does not, in fact, equal speech?

In its most base form, witness the health care debate. On the side of the existing system, there are those who cry out "socialized medicine!", "rationed care!", and (my personal favorite) "the government can't do anything right!" Said, primarily and loudest, by people who work for the government.

When your insurance company says it won't cover certain things, like, say, chemotherapy, because you were diagnosed with cancer right after you got insurance, and they want to claim "pre-existing condition," that sounds like someone's rationing something. Money, maybe. Of course you can get the coverage you need, so long as you go to court. Everyone has time to do that these days, right?

And the idea that the government is just SO incompetent: why do we trust them to do anything right, like, say, protect our borders, or field an army? If they can't buy a light bulb without a hundred forms being filled out, how can they possibly have enough time to move an aircraft carrier from point A to point B?

To all the conservative nay-sayers (who don't read this blog - why do I even bother?): single-payer health care is cheaper than for-profit health care. It means that the government simply acts as the insurance company, paying doctors and hospitals when they are billed for services. You will pay higher taxes in order to get this, but employers no longer need to contribute their own money (unless they so choose, I guess) in order to offer you health care. In other words, you can work anywhere, and have health care. You can be unemployed and have health care. You can be retired and have health care. And you can buy supplementary health care insurance (if you want) so you can get fancier health care. Common amongst Great Britain's wealthier citizens.

Medicare (which has its problems, no denying that) has an overhead cost that is only 15% of private health insurance overhead. For every dollar you spend on your doctor visit, 12-20% of that is spent on paperwork, legal fees and profits for the insurance company. For every dollar spent by Medicare, that number is somewhere below 3%. Because all you're doing is saying how much does it cost, and what was the illness being treated.

The one thing you don't have to ask is whether the CEO needs a bigger yacht.

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