September 8, 2009
With the upcoming health-care legislation there’s a strange alignment of interests. With the Single Payer option killed the players now focus on providing insurance coverage for all Americans. But first let us explore the concept of insurance. Insurance is at its root shared risk. Because the consequences of illness are so great and we all are at risk, insurance as a legitimate solution is agreed by many. However, on the extreme of libertarians forcing the individual to share risks with others that they have nor wish control over is an anathema. They view individual responsibility as the ultimate device to keep humanity alive. Consequences maybe a cruel instructor. As one leg of the GOP stool the libertarian credo is often espoused by the GOP to abolish all social welfare programs. The corporate leg of the GOP stool sees the gigantic profits to be made in a national health insurance mandate, minus any public option, of course. On the Democrats side the historic view of insurance companies has been most negative. The 30 percent of premiums that go to administrative expenses and profits for the insurance companies are seen by many Dems as corporate greed taking advantage of the sick and least able to protect themselves. So where are we now? The Dems seem willing to accept and even promote an individual mandate for health insurance, while the GOP is split among those railing against socialized medicine and those looking to get a government windfall in hard times. Meanwhile, the 50 million uninsured will continue to become sick and injured while those with insurance will pay not only for their own care but the belated expensive care for the uninsured and the multimillion dollar benefits of the insurance companies. Go figure.