As a former executive with a major health and life insurance company, I know that keeping insurance companies in the middle, allows them to suck up huge amounts of insurance premium dollars to pay for their built in unbelievable overhead and executive salaries, and for shareholder profits, none of which is available to you when you get sick.
In 2005 some 41% of moderate and middle income Americans went without health care for part of the year. Even more shocking is that 53% of those earning less than $20,000 went without insurance for all of 2005. In fact, the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine estimates that 18,000 Americans die each year because they have no health insurance.
Insurance companies like to use words like pre-qualifying of insurance applicants, all this means is they are picking and choosing who will get insurance and who won't. Many flat out deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.
We must cut out ridiculous overhead, I mean think about it for a moment have you ever seen an insurance company headquarters that wasn't a big fancy hi-rise, or an insurance office that wasn't decorated with premium dollars.
Let us cut out this unnecessary overhead, and do what nearly all the other industrialized countries do, and that is have SINGLE PAYER UNIVERSAL health care.
The U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not provide universal health care. More than 44.3 million Americans have no health insurance, and tens of millions more are underinsured. Private corporations pay less than 20% of health costs. Thus, even if you have insurance, you may not be able to afford the care you need, and some treatments may not be covered at all.
These millions are living on the edge financially and facing the onset of a serious illness or disabling injury, a lack of health insurance can trigger bankruptcy or even homelessness. I know my wife and I are both disabled and have already gone through this tightrope walk along the edge.
Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, of the Chicago Archdiocese said, "Health care is an essential safeguard of human life and dignity and there is an obligation for society to ensure that every person be able to realize this right."
In his letter, Edwards said:
As you well know, the American health care system is broken for far too many of our families. Today, 47 million people are uninsured, while uncertainty grows and costs spiral for nearly everyone else. To fix this crisis, we don't need an incremental shift we need a fundamental change.
Change this big simply cannot come from the top down. To make this dream a reality, we must build a groundswell of support to demand change from the bottom up. We can't start in two years or six months. If we're going to transform America, we've got to start today.
We have to stop using words like 'access to health care' when we know with certainty those words mean something less than universal care. Who are you willing to leave behind without the care he needs? Which family? Which child? We need a truly universal solution, and we need it now.
Universal health care is not a new idea. Why can we achieve it now when all previous efforts have fallen short?
For one, the system is in greater crisis now than ever before - more uninsured people, more workers changing jobs or working on their own, and more out of control costs. People are ready for change. But the real reason I know we can make this happen? You.
This campaign is about transformational change, the kind you can only achieve working together with millions of committed citizens who share a vision for a better life - and that's exactly what we've got.
What we need is Medicare for all, everyone should be covered, publicly funded but privately delivered -- you pick your doctor and other providers but eliminate most of the processing paperwork at both your doctor's office and at the insurance companies.
Without a comprehensive Medicare for all, we will continue to lose jobs to other nations. Those other nations don't force employers to pay ridiculous premiums (average in the USA for an employer based family plan was $9,979 in 2005). I honestly can't blame an employer for going where he can save $5,000 per employee a year in insurance costs alone.
Don't get me wrong. Edwards has a lot more understanding and sympathy for working class Americans than most of the other candidates. However, he seems to be afraid of bucking the big insurance companies and their lobbyists and millions of campaign funds they can give or withhold from candidates.
The World Health Organization ranked the U.S. 37th in the world for health system performance. And we in the U.S.A. are paying twice as much for health care than are the other developed countries. But to add insult to injury, we get less coverage for double the cost.
Edwards is a great speaker, and can articulate our values better than any other candidate, but he has to stop being afraid to alienate the Big Insurance companies, and tell it like it is, express the solutions to the problem, don't beat around the bush.
Connecticut Coalition for Universal Health Care has a MYTH buster site here:
http://cthealth.server101.com/the_case_for_universal_health_care_in_the_united_states.htm Check them out it dispells a lot of the Right Wing propaganda.
"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being
of [oneself] and [one's] family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25
The following are discussed at: http://www.nhchc.org/singlepayer.html
· Our lack of universal health insurance is costly
· Single payer health insurance is a system by which the health care expenditures of an entire population are paid for through one source
· Distinctly different from socialized medicine
· Individuals are allowed to choose their providers.
· All medically necessary services are covered by the insurance,
· Services are delivered based on need rather than on ability to pay.
· Single payer health insurance would save money
· Single payer health insurance has proven itself to be
· The expansion of Medicare, as proposed in House Resolution 676, is the smoothest road toward universal coverage
This is one of those obvious no-brainers that is so hard for the Right Wing to understand.
Providing universal health care can only be accomplished through a single-payer system: no country ever achieved universal coverage with private health insurance. President Harry Truman proposed universal health care in 1948 but was rebuffed by Congress. The time to act is now.
Single Payer Universal Health Insurance the time has come to Stand Up for America and support this initiative, in your state and at the national level.
Founder & Chairman
Publisher of WE! The People online magazine
Ron McBride is founder, chairman and regular contributor of, by and for www.wedemocrats.org. He is the author of numerous articles on Democracy. His writings can be found at www.WeDemocrats.org, at mytown.ca/mcbride plus blogs such as www.dailykos.com, at OpEdNews and www.mydd.com