Monday, July 27, 2009

Not As Important

as several thousand gay people being unable to marry is that tens of millions of Americans do not have medical coverage. Insignificant as that is compared to the unmarried state of the nation's gaiety, the President devoted a press conference to the issue anyway.

It is 54 minutes long, which is a long time to listen to even a good speaker like Mr. Obama talk about a subject notorious for its platitudes and boring technicalities. Nevertheless it is a huge subject and one that will loom large this year. It is good to hear the administration's side from the horse's mouth. Or if you don't care for the President, from the horse's ass. If 54 minutes is too long to endure, listen to the first eight minutes in which he summarizes the administration's position.

One thing the President comes close to saying but never does say, is that most of the problem is the insurance companies. Doctors and nurses are expensive but they contribute to people's medical care. The pharmaceuticals companies are demonstrably greedy heartless bastards making unjustifiable profits, but they contribute to people's medical care. Hospitals and their staffs, medical labs and their staffs, medical equipment providers, are all expensive but they contribute to people's medical care.

Insurance companies make huge profits while contributing nothing to anyone's medical care. Worse yet, they actively prevent large numbers of people from getting medical care in order to reduce their risk of paying out. Yet accepting risk of paying out is the sole reason why there should be insurance companies at all.

The President elected to bring about "Change" is unwilling to change anything fundamental in what he publicly claims is the area of American life most in need of change. In his press conference he said his plan would create a public payer in competition with the insurance companies to "at least keep the insurance companies honest".

So far from keeping the insurance companies honest, this proposal is sure to enable them to fob off bad risks with pre-existing conditions onto the government while keeping only healthy low-risk insureds themselves. So far from keeping the insurance companies honest this is sure to mean that the insurance companies are free to cancel the insurance of any of their insureds who has the temerity to get sick. So far from keeping the insurance companies honest it makes them immune from suit by the canceled insured. He or she has a viable federally funded alternative, so in theory (and only in theory) suffers no monetary damages he can sue to recover.

The analogy is the private schools and the public schools. Every problem child, every disrupter, every slow learner, every kid whom the private schools don't want, gets fobbed off on the public schools who are forbidden to turn anyone away. So the well-funded private schools, rid of the more expensive problem children, do just fine. The public schools, with over-taxed budgets and full of the private schools' rejects, provide an ever-worsening sham of an education. They are even further handicapped because hamstrung by racial politics and polarization.

Can one imagine the relationship between the insured of private insurers and those of the public entity will be any better? Indeed, because so much money is involved, it figures to be a great deal worse.

When the candidate, and now President, spoke of "Change", we just assumed that it would be for the better. We appear to have been mistaken.

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