Obama health insurance plan leaves millions uncovered

My son, 19, has “pre-existing health conditions” that will make it difficult for him to get health insurance when he’s forced to get it on his own at age 24. If the proposed changes in insurance regulations goes into effect, he’ll be able to get coverage. That’s great for him, and his parents are relieved. However, for millions of others in this country, the proposed changes in health insurance guarantees that they will live sicker and die younger than they should.

Last night, President Obama spoke for 45-minutes before the entire Congress and the country, cajoling us to support his proposed health insurance plan. Claiming to give us the details regarding his insurance plan, President Obama outlined points already known about his proposal. In a surprise to some, he continued to voice support for a so-called public option.

The President proposes an insurance exchange or pool to which employers and other payers would go and shop among competing health insurance providers. Insurance companies would have new restrictions placed upon them. They would not be allowed to deny coverage to people with “pre-existing health conditions,” nor would they be allowed to drop anyone’s coverage once they get sick. In some of the health insurance plans being discussed on Capitol Hill, there would be a cap placed on customers’ out-of-pocket medical costs.

I’m all for being treated more favorably by the insurance companies. However, being treated more favorably doesn’t mean that one is being treated fairly or equally.

The insurance industry has agreed to the proposed new restrictions on them not out of the goodness of their hearts. Rather, they do so because they will make billions of dollars in new profits. The proposed health insurance plans being discussed in Congress and pushed by the White House would be a boondoggle for the insurance industry. They would get millions of new customers because of the proposal to force people to buy health insurance. The federal government will provide subsidies to help people buy this insurance, thus transferring billions of dollars from the federal government into the coffers of the private insurers.

For those people who can’t get or can’t afford health insurance through an employer, President Obama proposes a public insurance option. Most people wouldn’t have access to this public health insurance. As President Obama noted in his speech, “I have no interest in putting the insurance companies out of business.” Too bad.

Instead, President Obama’s plan calls for  “making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange.” He was quick to add, ” Let me be clear – it would only be an option for those who don’t have insurance.” At most, it would be available for only about 5% of the country’s population.

The result will be that millions of people will remain uninsured. Undocumented workers are expressly excluded from coverage under the public option. “There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants,” said Obama. “This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.” Millions of workers will suffer as a result of this refusal to provide health care. Thousands will die.

The so-called health care reform being bandied about in Congress amounts to some tweaking of health care insurance and is designed to ensure the continued profits of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and health care industries. The health care industry is all about making profit, not providing health care. Let’s take the profit out of it. Let’s revolutionize health care by providing it to everyone through a nationalized, government-run health care system.

Thursday, September 10th, 2009 at 05:30