A few years ago, I saw freshman Congressman Alan Grayson summarize the Republican counterplan to “Obamacare” on CNN (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q_aiQcAt6Q). It actually was in reference to his House presentation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-usmvYOPfco). In short, it went like this:
#1: Don’t get sick.
#2: If you do get sick, die quickly.
As a physician whose training institutions all catered to the poorest people around. I saw the uninsured and realized how close I was to being equally uninsured. After training, I realized and used to demonstrate to others how health insurance works:
#1: Okay, pretend I’m the insurance company. You give me your money.
#2: I put the money in my pocket.
(wait for it….)
That’s it! I don’t want to take the money out of my pocket. That would cut into my profits. After all, insurance is a business.
You could practically see light bulbs brighten over peoples’ heads, at this.
Grayson’s point is even more accurate, clear, and succinct, implying the insurance companies’ follow-through, “and if you can’t give me the profits I so rightly deserve for being rich and profitable, then to hell with you, and the sooner the better.”
Four years ago, I attended a Texas medical conference in which I learned that for every $1 business owners pay for workers compensation — a legally mandated form of medical insurance which must be purchased from for-profit insurance companies — for every $1 paid in, half was pure profit, after medical care, insurance company business expenses, even lobbying expenses.
I would submit that this constitutes “taxation without representation.” You could argue that legislators provided representation when writing the law and that insurance companies are not government. In fact, however, the legislators legislated huge profits to the insurance industry, something none of their other constituents would have voted for, so it appears they were only representing the insurance companies. The elephant-in-the-room question is, why? That 50% profit does not even include insurance company taxes paid to government. Legally mandating the insurance, however, legally mandates the profits, so I contend that these profits are a tax on employers, who then must pass the tax down to their employees in the form of lower pay. After all, they can only sell their products and services for so much. The money has to come from somewhere, or rather, someone.
In a real democracy, government-required insurance would not be for-profit. Either the government would act as insurer or the for-profit insurance companies would use the nonprofit insurance categories as loss leaders to draw in customers to buy for-profit insurance, like pet health insurance or the supplemental car insurance rental cars don’t really need, when the renter/driver is already insured otherwise.
The republicans allowed Obamacare to pass when it was clear the American people would balk, otherwise. Still, they protected their corporate “friends”, making sure all the business of such mandated insurance stayed in the for-profit sector. They denied government-based health insurance, i.e., Medicare, even when citizens could have paid for it directly, as it was not for profit and would have undercut the cost of for profit insurance.
You get that, right? The added cost of for profit insurance is the profit, and republicans didn’t want governmental competition to interfere with corporations making profit off sick and dying Americans.
Speaking of which, want to talk about death panels? Why would any highly profitable business spend unlimited amounts of profit on a customer who’s dying, anyway?
Don’t get sick. And if you do, die quickly. The corporations, now recognized as “persons” by the Supreme Court of the United States of America, and their republican friends, will appreciate your kind and generous consideration.