Monday, May 11, 2009

Single Payer

As a systems guy who knows a little bit about communications, the web and databases, it never ceases to amaze me when politicians' unenlightened self interest enables greed and incompetence to be injected into, in this case, Universal Health Care, an environment the vast majority of Americans, including me, want as a single payer entity. According to Ralph Nader, there's a damn good reason why...

"Among the giant taboos afflicting Congress these days is the proposal to create a single payer health insurance system (often called full Medicare for everyone).

How can this be? Don’t the elected politicians represent the people? Don't they always have their finger to the wind?

Well, single payer is only supported by a majority of the American people, physicians and nurses. They like the idea of public funding and private delivery. They like the free choice of doctors and hospitals that many are now denied by
the HMOs.

There are also great administrative efficiencies when single payer displaces the health insurance industry and its claims-denying, benefit-restricting, bureaucratically-heavy profiteering. According to leading researchers in this area, Dr. David Himmelstein and Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, single payer will save $350 billion annually.

Yet, on Capitol Hill and at the White House there are no meetings, briefings,
hearings, and consultations about kinds of health care reforms that reform the basic price inflation, indifference to prevention, and discrimination by health insurers.

There is no place at the table for single payer advocates in the view of the Congressional leaders who set the agenda and muzzle dissenters.

Last month at a breakfast meeting with reporters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) responded to a question about health care with these revealing and exasperating words: "Over and over again, we hear single payer, single payer,
single payer. Well, it's not going to be a single payer."

Thus spake Speaker Pelosi, the Representative from Aetna? Never mind that 75 members of her party have signed onto H.R. 676-the Conyers single payer legislation. Never mind that in her San Francisco district, probably three out of four people want single payer. And never mind that over 20,000 people die every year, according to the Institute of Medicine, because they cannot afford health insurance."


Simply unreal and it gets even better.

Baucus (Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee) crafted a hearing to kick off the health care debate in the Senate yesterday where 15 witnesses would be at the table to discuss health care reform.

The insurance industry was at the table.

The Business Roundtable was at the table.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was at the table.

Blue Cross Blue Shield was at the table.

The Heritage Foundation was at the table.


And corporate liberals like Andy Stern, Ron Pollack, and AARP were at the table.

But not one person who stood for what the majority of Americans, doctors, nurses, and health economists want - single payer - was at the table.


Not one.

"As Senator Baucus started his introductory remarks, something happened. One by one, eight people in the audience, most of them physicians and lawyers, stood up to politely but insistently protest the absence of a single payer presentation.

One by one, the police came, took them out of the hearing room, arrested and handcuffed them. The charge was "disruption of Congress"--a misdemeanor.


Amerika anyone?

Click here to see civil "disobedience" at it's best, something we are going to see a lot more of in the weeks and months ahead as the economy continues it's downward slide while the connected and powerful take the "Let them eat cake." attitude toward us great unwashed.

I wonder if Obama and company remember what happened to Marie Antoinette even though she probably did not say that famous quote. I do.

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