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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/14/09

Outing a Healthcare Reform Subterfuge.

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Message Ed Tubbs
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In May 11's Newsweek, Mitt Romney posted an article, "The answer is in unleashing markets - not government." (

The Republican ex-governor of Massachusetts employs a poorly veiled ploy to advance the Republican position, one that, by the way, also mirrors that of the insurance industry.  "Compare the U.S. Postal Service with UPS and Federal Express." The next sentence is so downright insulting, "Stack North Korea against South Korea," I'll not remark on it, other than to suggest that those who are persuaded by that comparison would love the one where Mussolini got the trains to run on time.

Can you spot the lie, the intentional distortion in the USP versus UPS comparison?

As with the insurance industry that helped create the wholly unjust and highly partial healthcare folly that is the US model, UPS and Fed-Ex both cherry pick what they will do and where they will do it. The US Postal Service, by federal statute, does not enjoy that advantage. Regardless where one lives, if they have a delivery address, the mail will be delivered to them, right down to the first-class letter. Give UPS and Fed-Ex a call. See which of them will deliver your first-class mail. "Sorry, we don't handle first-class mail." Okay, how about a package to some remote area of Montana, Idaho, or California, or a remote spot anywhere in the country. Again, it's "Sorry, . . ."

This week the insurers, among others in the healthcare industry, "promised" President Obama they can, and will, trim entire percentages from the rate of increases. It must appear as ironic to more than just a few that, regardless that health insurance premiums have been closing in on the Hubble telescope's altitude, the companies nonetheless can't restrain the velocity of rate increases, even though they insure only the healthiest of the healthiest. How are they going to manage to trim entire percentage points from a system that has been, and remains, so gamed in their favor? And, if they really can do it now, what, within the past few weeks and months, has changed so dramatically that all of a sudden . . .?  

Fade back to Romney. Do not forget the ploy. Fade to GOP pollster, Frank Lutz. This week he counseled Republicans, "You're not going to get what you want, but you can kill what they're trying to do." His expanded recommendations all fell into what Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley put under the heading "Pretend to be working on behalf of change" to "trick and manipulate the American public." ( Now, show a split-screen shot of Romney and Lutz.

A few days ago I posted an article, "Health Insurers' Bottom Line Defines 'Medical Necessity.'" ( In the article I provided a few anecdotes which I swore to be the "truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." They were photographs of travels through insurance company hell.

This afternoon, with surgery scheduled for Saturday, the 16th, the doctor's office phoned to advise the health insurance company had not forwarded approval for the pre-op. Calls, and calls, and calls to the insurance company, and waits in interminable purgatory "hold" while one clerk after another wants to know what they can do to help, before passing the call on. They were either "doing the best [they] could," or "there was nothing [they] could do about it." And nothing was getting to be known by those who absolutely had an urgent need to know: a neurosurgeon, a hospital that will have to keep an operating room available . . . Saturday? Yes? No? What . . .?

I know the game, which is why I'm so hot on the issue. I'd ask whether any of the clerks could explain exactly what service they're rendering to any American who is not either a shareholder or otherwise associated with the company, but that wouldn't move the ball forward.  

Last night, May 11, CSPAN ( aired a panel discussion on the future of the United States' economy. The members of the panel included one of Coca-Cola's presidents. He summed the issues as "healthcare reform, education, and energy." Relative to healthcare reform, "American business, large and small, cannot continue to carry $3,000 to $5,000 in health insurance premiums per employee, and be competitive."

I have heard numerous people claim they never discuss either politics or religion with family, friends or work associates. The principle itself is flawed, terribly so. I was in the hospital room when both my sons were born. For the mother and for them it was a struggle. It was a fight. Life, for all manner of it, from beginning to end, is supposed to be a struggle. It is supposed to be a fight, not for the faint of character or of heart. There is nothing honorable about "going along, to get along" on the crucial matters. Health reform, whether on behalf of the health of Americans or the health of our economy, is one of those crucial matters.

But what can any of us do to counter the vastness of the fortunes arrayed to stymie genuine reform?

The very first thing all of us must do is to educate ourselves on the issue: the true costs in money and in care denied that are being extracted by our present private insurance system. Know the talking points. Then we've got to draw out the feelings of those around us. What are their misperceptions? Summon the courage to correct them. To everyone you know, forward articles that address the topic, asking them to also forward the information on. Contact by phone, mail or email your elected federal legislators, informing each with a terse recitation of your position. Just do not do nothing.



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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."
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