Wednesday, July 29, 2009

And this is going to fix the problem *how*?

Article here:

Some highlights below:

"The House changes, which drew immediate opposition from liberal lawmakers, would reduce the federal subsidies designed to help lower-income families afford insurance, exempt additional businesses from a requirement to offer insurance to their workers and change the terms of a government insurance option."

So the 'conservatives' want to spend less government money on government-funded insurance for lower-income families while simultaneously making fewer businesses responsible for employee health care insurance? Where is this "universal" coverage going to come from, the sky? It's already doing it's job!

I also find myself wondering why large corporations need to be protected from *their own worker's needs*. I realize "money makes the world go 'round" as Joel Grey's famous lyric so succinctly explains, but without workers, where would the profit come from in the first place? Do $1,500 suits and gold name plaques on their desks make executives forget that somewhere, someone actually has to do work to put money into their bank accounts?

"More problematic from the Democrats' point of view is a tentative agreement to omit a provision in which the government would sell insurance in competition with private industry. In its place, the group is expected to recommend nonprofit cooperatives that could operate at the state, regional or even national level."

Nope, can't have any more competition for private insurances. Absolutely not. Not laissez faire if the 21st Century Robber Barons have to compete with their government for money. (Not that I'm in favor of or against any of these ideas right now; I'm just very cynical and jaded toward private insurances in general.)

"Nor is any bipartisan recommendation likely to include a requirement for large businesses to offer insurance to their workers. Instead, they would have a choice between offering coverage or paying a portion of any government subsidy that noninsured employees would receive."

If I'm reading this right, large businesses would either offer insurance through a private firm, or pay part of the cost to the government for care of their employees. "How big a portion?" is my first question, followed shortly thereafter by "So how can we avoid private insurances getting their money at all?" Like I said, cynical and jaded (thank you Highmark).

But finally, there's this:
"House Republican conservatives, relegated to the sidelines of the debate, unveiled a $700 billion health care plan with tax credits to help defray the cost of insurance. Unlike Democratic plans, it would not set up new federally regulated purchasing pools for individuals and small businesses. Instead, it would allow individuals to use the Internet to purchase lower-cost coverage if available anywhere in the country."

An overwhelming number of my Senior Citizen customers can't even use the damn voice mail line. I can see that "go buy it online with your Visa card" idea going swimmingly.

"It would provide grants to states to help set up high-risk pools for people with medical problems who are denied coverage by commercial insurers. The GOP bill also would limit jury awards for pain and suffering, and create new courts with specially trained judges to decide medical malpractice claims."

The first idea, I'll admit, sounds promising at face value. The people screwed over by the current system would have some back up from a government level. But... isn't that what Medicaid is already in place to do? And we see how well that's been working for the past few decades.

That last thing about new courts, though, really makes me scratch my head. Do we need a new courts system to interpret the law (because that's why it's supposed to be there) regarding medical care and insurance claims, or is there a way to make the current system work in a more efficient and, I don't know, sensible way? This idea looks like another protection move thought up by a lobbiest somewhere. Who will train these new judges? My bet would go on some sort of 'medical consulting firm' which is inevitably owned by the same corporations under fire from the proposed legislation.

I don't claim to be any kind of expert on insurances, billing systems, or the intricate workings of "health care" (read "wealth care") corporations. What I *do* know quite well are the faces I see across that pharmacy counter every day. And most of them don't give two shits about who pays for "the other part" of their medicine: they want to know why 1 Lipitor 20 mg costs more than the smiling face in the blue smock earns in an hour. Some of them are still feisty enough to wonder why the heck they pay $200+/mo. in premiums and deductables just to shell out another $165/mo or more at the pharmacy's register.

But do I have an idea of how to fix it? No. I just got to this party 2 years ago. The bullshit's been piling up, as far as I can tell, for easily double the time I've even been *alive*. So, what do you think? Where does the current system fail so miserably that the government needs to step in and take someone out to the woodshed?

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