Who Doesn’t Want a Public Health Care Option?

July 6, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Insurers,  large hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies.


Witness how much these interests have amped up lobbying to prevent any kind of real health care reform.

Health care lobbying is now at a record breaking $1.4 million a day.

Now why would they do such a thing?

Could it be to help the people of America? Or could it be to make sure they profit from any legislation?

Let’s look at what they’re against, primarily any form of government health insurance. These corporate lobbyists seem to be universally against the so-called public health care option.

This seems odd as in the past these very same lobbyists have argued how inefficient government health care would be. Yet, now they are claiming a public option would put them out of business because they couldn’t compete. If government is so inefficient, why is it such a threat?

What the insurance companies are really afraid of is that the government would use its’ size and negotiating capability, along with its’ non-profit status, to actually offer more cost-effective health insurance.

This might very well drive insurers out of business.

My question is, why should we, as the insured, care? Why is this debate so centered around the interests of insurers, large hospital systems, and pharmaceutical companies?

I would agree that these interests should be part of the debate. But the overarching issue is that 44 million people cannot afford health insurance and the high cost of health insurance is hurting small businesses and driving up the ranks of the uninsured.

Why aren’t the lobbyists talking about these issues?

Probably because if you look at it from that perspective, some form of government health insurance makes sense.

Insurance is based on statistics. The original idea was that a small percentage of the population would need this insurance at any one given time. Therefore, given a large enough pool of insured, costs could be distributed in a given year.

But the insurance companies figured something out. They figured out if they could find a way to get rid of high risk customers, they could make even more money. So they started “cherry picking” customers to make a profit.

In a sense, the insurance companies are all fighting for a small group of healthy customers. The original principle of insurance as a large group coming together to help a small percentage of needy no longer exists. Private health insurance is no longer doing what it was originally intended to do because it is driven by profits.

A government option could restore this meaning of insurance. And the government wouldn’t need to take a cut off the top. It would actually be a more efficient form of health insurance. Why else would the health insurance industry fight so hard against this option?