The real ten-ton gorilla in the health care debate is the greed of the health insurance industry. They just can't help themselves, they have to drop those that cost them money, they have to charge high fees to cover massive overhead and high executive fees, let along impress Wall Street by showing low cost-to-benefit ratios so their stock prices can stay high.
Bottom line? The problem isn't the health care, per se. It is the health insurance business that is destroying the system. The viability and legitimacy of government provided health care services, as Jon Stewart proved cornering William Kristoll the other night on the Daily Show.
It is critical the discussion move from health care to health insurance (which Nancy Pelosi just started doing Friday) and the ideal and only system that will work is single payer (H.R. 676) is one such proposed option we should get our Congressional representatives to support, for it is my belief that all other watered-down systems will fail as long as the insurance industry is allowed to participate.
Simply put, the for-profit health insurance industry must be terminated -- with extreme prejudice. Anyone who says they are happy with the private health insurance is flat out lying as they are paying too much (and they know it) and they are fearful of being dropped or discovered for some pre-existing condition they or the insurer didn't know about until it's time to use it. If your coverage is with your job, good luck taking it with you or getting reasonable coverage in the future; it just isn't worth businesses staying in business with these high private health insurance costs
The reality of this situation is only lost upon those who believe that all systems must produce a profit in a capitalistic form in order to work. They are delusional at best! Medicare works, COBRA works, but they have been weakened by this philosophy. Bill Maher said it best: why must everything produce a profit? In this case, especially a system that only helps a small few, while ripping off everyone else? Our roads are socialism, our fire departments are socialism, our police departments are socialism, our military is socialism in many ways, especially for our military contractors who build weapons systems that either don't work or aren't used or fight wars for oil under other people's land. Man, oh man, this insanity has to stop!
The other side of the health care coin is the preventive end. Why are we such a fat, sick nation in the first place? Because we eat such poor food and don't exercise. To really fix this system, we must include elimination of high fructose corn syrup and other means of producing toxic food products that are anything but whole food. People are ingesting slow death by the way our corporate agribusinesses are growing, mass producing, and shipping large quantities of poor food at great environmental costs. From genetically engineered, tasteless, and valueless foods to mass injections of anti-biotic chemicals into mass farmed animal combines -- this, too, is a part of our health care crisis, the health our people don't have because our food chain is so toxic... all while our people work incredibly long hours for low pay and enjoy little long-term social support systems, let alone have the time to exercise.
Americans are the new cattle of the planet. We're working as livestock for the corporate greed of Wall Street with little care by our factory bosses as to the quality of our lives or how long they last. How's that for an analogy? These greed merchants are buying our politicians to make sure they stay in business at your expense! Our politicians are pandering to them because they need the money to run for office next time around... but Clean Money (Full Public Funding of Elections) is for another discussion.
If we do not get a single-payer system that also attacks the food industry, establishes a preventive health care environment for the public, and opens the door for organic, local, sustainable, renewable and humane small farms, we will surely thrust this nation into an environmental, economic, and health abuse death spiral we are already seeing as a vast abyss before us.
It is time to kill the ten-ton gorilla, create real jobs for the paper pushing, coverage-denying employees of this unhealthy insurance industry, and work to clean up the health of our own lives as well as that of our nations with single-payer health insurance.
Wayne Williams is a Delegate to the California Democratic Party, an outspoken Progressive, Board Member of Valley Democrats United and Board Member of the California Fair Elections Action Fund promoting Full Public Funding of Elections on the June 2010 California ballot.