Hat tip: Drinking Liberally in New Milford. Thanks Stephen.
That would be....drumroll please....free market capitalists. Ah, yes, the debate over public vs. private medical insurance has come full circle to the truth. The truth being that previous arguments against national health care plans has nothing to do with worries of socialism, with worries of decreased care, choice, and increased costs.
Oh no, they finally came out with it. Private insurance simply can't compete.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Daschle, the point man for Mr. Obama’s campaign to revamp the health care system, supports the concept of “a government-run insurance program modeled after Medicare.” It would, he says, give consumers, especially the uninsured, an alternative to commercial insurance offered by companies like Aetna, Humana and WellPoint.
But the proposal is anathema to many insurers, employers and Republicans. They say the government plan would have unfair advantages, like the ability to impose lower fees, and could eventually attract so many customers that private insurers would be driven from the market.
This is true - giving patients and citizens a choice in insurance coverage and service rendered, they will indeed choose the plan that is the least expensive, with the best results. The low cost/best competitive service mantra is the battle cry of capitalists, isn't it?
Of course we all know we are being gouged with medical costs, from the doctor's bills to the outrageous premiums, we are being killed off one by one. Financially speaking. I have said over and over again that large health care plans like this give the patient the best bang for their buck. The larger the pool, the lower the costs become.
And again, I'm being proven correct by the amount of fear shown by private industries. Why doesn't anyone listen to me?
From the article:
“Many of the private plans are poorly managed,” he said. “They are the General Motors of medical care delivery. Medicare is paying the right amounts. To suggest that a heart surgeon has to make $600,000 or $700,000 a year, as opposed to only $400,000 under Medicare fees, does not get much sympathy from me.”
Nor I. The fact of the matter is that everyone at the top is being grossly overpaid. I think that with the collapse of almost every major company in the US at the moment, this would be obvious. this was obvious to me some time ago. The medical industry is no different.
Of course, the reaction is:
Scott P. Serota, president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, whose member companies insure one-third of all Americans, said: “I’m not worried about our ability to compete on a level playing field. I am worried that a public program would have marketplace advantages that make private plans noncompetitive.”
Now, what he meant to say was that having a very large, well organized company - whether private or public - coming in and not playing by their rules to line their pockets with profits creates an unfair advantage. Or, in short, having real competition just isn't fair.
Now the objections to the health care plan are oh-so-clear to me. It has everything to do with the fear of being outed for the crooks they are. See, when people start to realize that the capitalist mantra of free markets and competition are no more than a rouse, they will begin asking for fair prices, lower profit margins, CEO wage caps, higher worker wages, and real, honest to goodness financial competition.
And these companies can't have that, now can they.
It's like pulling Oz out from behind the big curtain. Whoops! I smell fraud! And we have been ignoring it for far too long.
In the end, people will still have to make a choice between private or public health care. In the end, the market will be forced back down to reasonable rates, and thus truly competitive. In the end, the medical industry as a whole will have been taken down a peg or two, make a little less profit, be a little worse for the wear, but overall still there.
If they choose to compete.
The rest of us will be a bit happier, a bit healthier, and a bit wealthier for it.