Insurance companies’ profits enrich Senators, Representatives

Today’s Washington Post reports that 30 key lawmakers involved in drafting legislation for planned health care reform have financial holdings in the industry that may total as much as $27 million. This fact is not the only reason the U.S. Congress is likely to pass health-care legislation throwing billions to the insurance industry.

Democratic and Republican Party politicians — to a person — are wedded to a system where industries, including the health care industry, are based on making profits. Both the bill being discussed in the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (chaired by Senator Edward Kennedy) and the Senate’s Finance Committee (chaired by Senator Max Baucus) propose mandating all individuals have insurance coverage. Each bill proposes ways the federal government can provide resources to individuals to pay for this insurance coverage. A topic of hot debate in the U.S. Congress is how the federal government will finance these plans. Employers will be hit to finance workers’ insurance, although many businesses will receive credits from the feds to soften the blow. Workers may have their benefits taxed, as well.

However, the bottom line is that more money and increased profits will be funneled to the robber barons of the insurance industry, as they stand to gain some 47 million new customers. Isn’t some kind of health insurance coverage better than no coverage at all? I think we need to fight for what we want rather than accepting whatever it is we get. We want and need universal health insurance and a single-payer system.

Access to health care is an important first step toward eliminating racial and ethnic health inequities; nevertheless, it’s not the complete solution. As I noted in an earlier post, health inequities are a reflection of deeper social inequities. Until these social inequities are addressed, we still will remain plagued by health disparities.

Saturday, June 13th, 2009 at 11:33