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Capitalism and Health Care

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Sometimes it’s useful simply to state the obvious.  The only justification for using capitalistic principles for the distribution of health care is to insure that universal health care, by any meaningful definition, will never happen.  Period.  

 Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell observed, on Face the Nation, that "if the government is in the insurance business there won't be any other insurers, it's inevitable." His acknowledgement that the private health insurance industry would be “not be able to compete with a government option” is, for him, a devastating criticism, apparently based on his belief that the competition generated by our present, capitalistic, health care, system, is more important than the possibility that universal health care would be more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible that the present system. 

Neither the philosophy nor the practice of capitalism is compatible with universal health care.  Capitalism rewards financial success, and, obviously, health insurance companies that are driven to maximize their profits can most easily do so by compromising the quality of their service, selectively choosing whom to insure, and finding ways to limit or deny claims.  These capitalistic incentives have succeeded in giving us what we have today, a health care system that is of generally high quality for a diminishing number of people able to afford it.  Unless and until a meaningful public option is available in which positive health outcomes and universal access replace the profit motive as the driving force of the system, we will only be tinkering around the edges of the problem. 

 President Obama, strategically light years ahead of the Mitch McConnell’s in the congress, some of whom are Democrats, makes the point by packaging the “public option” as one choice among many, and putting the onus on the present, failed, system to defend itself. Unfortunately, given the rhetoric and posturing of political maneuvering, it is impossible to know the depth of his commitment to the public option.  It would be painful indeed to see meaningful health care reform sacrificed to some notion of political expediency.

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I am a retired boatbuilder with a fascination for political thought. Most of my life I cheerfully described myself as an "eastern establishment, knee jerk, liberal Democrat."

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"the possibility that universal health care w... by UncleSim on Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 at 3:06:20 PM
Apparently you are unfamiliar with the VA Health C... by Bryan Emmel on Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 at 5:09:21 PM
Guaranteeing our health while taxing us into slave... by UncleSim on Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 at 5:19:54 PM
Are YOU familiar with the VA health care system? ... by UncleSim on Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 at 6:14:16 PM
I am a disabled veteran who receives medical care ... by Bryan Emmel on Friday, Jun 26, 2009 at 3:38:57 AM
No, I'm talking about the scandal at Walter Reed, ... by UncleSim on Friday, Jun 26, 2009 at 5:23:55 PM
Goverment manages our national parks & forests... by dick overfield on Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 at 5:16:58 PM
Yeah, we're SO deregulated, there are only tens of... by UncleSim on Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 at 6:07:17 PM
As we've learned yet again from the current Wall S... by dick bureson on Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 at 7:16:50 PM
And at least you are speaking from inside knowledg... by E. Nelson on Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 at 9:36:52 PM
People play basketball, football, tennis, etc. wit... by UncleSim on Thursday, Jun 25, 2009 at 10:44:19 PM
Well, if it gets too scary for you, you could alwa... by Bryan Emmel on Friday, Jun 26, 2009 at 3:45:48 AM
Wow, you managed to take my fear of nationalized h... by UncleSim on Friday, Jun 26, 2009 at 5:31:01 PM
Big business, having achieved a Monopoly or Cart... by Nemo on Friday, Jun 26, 2009 at 5:38:26 AM
That's why we're supposed to have a Constitutional... by UncleSim on Friday, Jun 26, 2009 at 6:09:42 PM


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