- Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, enjoys a little yuck-yuck during the 2008 Presidential campaign
Leading Republicans have been deploying two equally disingenous, almost laughably self-contradictory arguments to try and defeat health care reform, and especially the desperately-needed “public option” government-administered insurance plan.
First, they argue, it would be unfair to make insurance companies compete with the federal government. Now, coming from Republican folks who argue day and night that the private sector is always superior, always more efficient, this is an interesting paradox. Since it should be self-evident to all us schlubs who are not in Congress, that the current private health insurance system is working so very, very well — indeed, the American health care system is the greatest in the world, despite any stupid statistics (or your personal experiences) to the contrary — it would just be inherently unfair to have to compete with the big, bad federal government, which, after all, never does anything right and…. Well, that’s kind of where I lose them.
Perhaps more insipidly — Senator Graham, do you not avail yourself of your Congressional health plan? — is the argument that any federal insurance program would impose government “bureaucrats” on your personal health care decision making process. Senator Graham hit this week’s Sunday talk show circuit to make just this argument:
(Transcript of “This Week with George Stephanopoulous,” Sunday June 21, 2009.)
As a real citizen — who over the course of the last 20 years has received private health care coverage through just 2 employers (of my wife’s), but has been placed, with little or no control, into at least 16 different health insurance plans during that same time — I would like to offer Sen. Graham a little visual primer on the U.S. health care insurance system and “bureaucracy.” To wit, I have drawn this little graph for the Senator’s enlightenment:
Senator Graham begs to differ. When I see all those bureaucrats standing between me and my doctor in the diagram above, I’m just being a socialist (or fascist, depending on the day of the week) fellow-traveler. I should know it takes a Senate Republican, who receives generous federal health insurance for himself and his family, to explain to me how there are actually no “bureaucrats” in the diagram above, only hard-working, honest businessmen, doing the best for me and my family. So, after consulting the Republican talking points on health care reform, I realized I had to change the picture. So, thanks to Senator Graham, below is the “real” picture of the American health care insurance system:
Of course, while Senator Graham is one of the worst examples, the biggest meaningful obstacle to getting a reasonable public health care insurance option in this country are certain conservative Congressional Democrats. Please write your Congressional representatives, especially if you live in an area represented by one of these fence-sitting Democrats, and let them know that Senator Graham’s view of the public option is the view of a blind, old fool, and that the best way to remove “bureaucrats” from the relationship between you and your doctor is to institute some form of public health insurance program.
Do it before you get sick or go bankrupt. And don’t fool yourself that your flim-flam private insurance is going to keep this from happening to you. Have you actually read your health insurance policy? Do you even know what it covers, honestly? The fact is that the same “entrepreneurs” who brought you sub-prime mortgages, credit card contracts and Bernie Madoff sell you your health insurance. Think there’s much difference? Think again.
Health care was never truly a “market,” in any sensible meaning of that word, to begin with. The time is now to stand up and demand a health care system that works for all of us.