Obama's Health Care

Published on: 09:37AM Oct 25, 2010

 To begin at the beginning, Americans pay at least twice as much for health care as the citizens of any other country. Overall health care is mediocre at best: the last time the World Health Organization posted rank order results, the US came out 34th, just above Brazil. That means the system is broken, contrary to the mantra of the far right.

The Obama health care bill was quite good for the big health insurance companies, for it mandated lots of new buyers for their over-priced plans. It worked well enough for big Pharma because Obama gave away Medicare's ability to negotiate for lower drug prices for retirees on Medicare. The Republicans called this "Socialism," which it is, but in the sense of forcing the populace to enrich the large corporations. Socialized medicine is certainly is not.

How to get rid of a bad bill? Many Republican candidates are running on the platform of "Elect me, I'll get rid of Socialized Medicine." There are two flaws. The first, of course, is this is not socialized medicine. The larger flaw is that the US Supreme Court is virtually guaranteed to overturn the legislation.

The District Court judge who heard the case framed it as "Whether the government has the right to compel citizens to participate in interstate commerce."  Assuming that is one of the issues put to the high court, the only question is whether the decision will be 6-3, 8-1 or 9-0. I'd not be surprised by a 9-0 vote to find the bill unconstitutional.

A partial explanation of why we get so little health care for such high premiums is that the executives in the HMOs are among the top 20% of pay for all executives world wide. Another interesting tidbit is that when Clintons first tried for a health care bill in 1992, Medicare was returning some 98¢ of every dollar collected to those enrolled as payment for services. That is now down to about 95¢. The private sector was at some 92¢ then and is now down to just under 80¢.

That makes the  Obama bill look like what it is: socialism for the Republican supported health care industry. Sadly, the Democrats also support big business, of which health care is but one.

One commentator said this: "Why not just let people participate in Medicare, but pay their own premiums until they qualify for government assistance?" Why not, indeed.