When pondering the future of single-payer healthcare in the United States, one need only look at the recent – and revealing – fuss about the “public option” plan being considered. With reform an absolute necessity given the broken, overly expensive system of health care we have in this country, private insurance companies are trying to flex their muscle against any semblance of it.
What is interesting is their shameless reversal of logic which is so apparent event President Barack Obama is calling it out. In a press conference today, Obama asked, “If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care … then why is it that the government, which they say can’t run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business?”
For years, the rhetoric of neoliberalism has attempted to wrap us into a notion that health care, a public right, should be relegated to the private profit-driven sphere. It’s an outlandish ideal whose consequences have been catastrophic and tragic. With nearly 50 million people in the U.S. without access to health care, why should this Manichean duality of private health insurance vs. no insurance persist?
With even the smallest iota of reform talk, the insurance industry has been sent into a truth serum panic that contradicts their long held party line. A letter to senators sent by the two biggest insurance companies reads” Regardless of how it is initially structured, a government plan would use its built-in advantages to take over the health insurance market.” Let’s think about this for a second: A “public option” has built-in advantages and is poised to take over the health insurance “market?”
If that is true, which their fear readily confirms, why the fuck don’t we have it already! Poll after poll shows that the people of the U.S. want it and have wanted it for years. Is it truly democratic to have representative politicians this out of line with public opinion? Of course not.