HEALTH CARE---GOOD GUYS VS. BAD GUYS

Normally, I try to avoid political issues on this blog, and remain content pontificating on cooking and my beloved martial arts. However, in view of what's happening on Capitol Hill, this is no time to remain quiet.

The knives are already out, the former remnants of the Evil Empire are scheming to destroy what could finally become a reality---a national health care plan for every American. Now, when we talk about a national plan we are not talking about (heaven forbid) socialism---the bugaboo word that makes conservative right-wing politicians apoplectic. What we are talking about, kiddies, is a plan that would give everyone the option of enrolling in a government-run plan; or they could remain with their current health care, if they desire. We are talking about choice---and isn't that what America is all about?


Well, not according to its opponents And who are these worthies? The usual suspects: the insurance industry, the pharmaceuticals and, yes, some doctors. Why are they against it? Simple. A public plan could charge premiums that are 30% lower than those of comparable private plans. According to the latest polls, 70 to 76% of all Americans support such a plan. About two-thirds of those with current private insurance would hop on board a government plan. Such a plan would also curtail costs, which is a benefit to everyone.

The insurance and pharmaceutical companies, yes, the evil guys, are adamantly oppose to this. They don't want Americans to have choice. It would cut into their profits. For profit hospitals and doctors say they couldn't sustain the lower fees. Tell that to the people of McAllen, Texas, where, even though it has the lowest household income in the country, it also has the highest health care costs in the nation.

See, this is how it works. The insurance companies charge the premiums for health care. They set the price on each and every procedure a doctor performs. Since they are in it for the loot, they try to keep premiums (what you pay for the service) high, and costs low. That's why you hear those horrid tales of cancer patients who can't get treatment because the health plan has nixed it due to expense or, in some cases, outright refuse to pay for the treatment. Most bankruptcies in America are due to individuals who go belly up due to medical costs which they can't sustain.

And would a government-run plan be any worse than the current private insurance options out there? Most of the doctors I know positively hate the paperwork and nit-picking involved when dealing with the insurance companies. It's not medical personnel who tell them what treatment they can't or cannot perform, it's some faceless schlub citing rules and regulations. Would a government bureaucrat be any worse? I know of two physicians, one a cardiologist and fellow martial artist, who closed their practices because they could no longer contend with the headaches of the private insurers. If nothing else, a government-run plan would keep these private entities honest.

Oh, as to that socialism crap. We already have a socialist plan. It is accorded to every member of congress, fully paid by the tax payer...you and me. It's a plan where they and their family members are fully covered. So the next time some blowhard politician, usually a holier-than-thou Republican (and some Democrats), all in the pockets of the insurers, start hollering about how a government-run plan would lead to Lenin and Stalin coming back from the grave, ask them why you and I can't have what the politicians have. I would trade in my health care plan for one of theirs any day.

The bad guys are plotting and, despite what the majority of Americans want, they could sink the prospect of national health care. My friends, don't let them do it. Don't let the evil guys win, don't let the special interests shaft you. I know, I sound like a public service announcement, but a lot is on the line. Contact your representative, senator, whoever. Make your voice heard, just like the protesters are doing now in Iran, text, tweet, blog, cell, Facebook and fax. Inundate congress with your righteous anger. This is too big and too important to have it sunk by a minority whose only god is greed.

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