Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beyond the Mandate Muddle

The Supreme Court marathon is more proof of how American health care, with or without reform, is in the hands of the wrong people—-the for-profit insurance industry that siphons off one out of every three dollars for overhead and profit.

Now largely forgotten in the inside-baseball legal arguments is that, in 2008, it was Barack Obama who opposed the mandate that Hillary Clinton backed and now finds himself defending it to save the deformed Act that was finally passed by an out-of-control Congress.

Before he got into the White House, the President freely admitted that a single-payer system was the best answer to health care reform but, unlike other advanced nations that have successfully adopted some form of it, the U.S. was not politically ready for it.

Instead, Barack Obama let the abortion of a bill that Congress squeezed through passage became his political albatross, not only in the reelection campaign but the Supreme Court, which may now overturn its individual mandate provision.

If so, it may be an opportunity for Democrats to start cleaning up their act.

As Fareed Zakaria observes, “A general insurance system can only work if everyone is insured. That's what the Swiss and Taiwanese found out. Otherwise, only the people who are sick will want to buy insurance and the insurance companies will spend most of their time and effort trying to kick sick people out of the system and denying coverage to those who might get sick.

“That's why the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, came up with the idea of an individual mandate, requiring that people buy health insurance in exactly the same way that people are required to buy car insurance...

“The fact is that all rich countries try to provide affordable health care for their citizens in some way or the other.

“All of them--including free market havens like Taiwan--have found that they need to use an insurance or government-sponsored model. All of them provide universal health care at much, much lower costs than we do.

“The United States has the most marketized system in the world and the most expensive and inefficient one with bad outcomes and low levels of customer satisfaction.”

Whatever the Supreme Court decides, it won’t change that.

1 comment:

Richard T said...

Surely it's a sign of complete madnes to let insurance companies run the provision of health care. Their business is to make profits from their customers and fine, for that is what capitalism is for. However applying the proper standards of insurance - doubt, mistrust, delay and evasion in a compatitive environment driving for the bottom line- when folk are desparate for medical remedy is wrong. Bite the bullet and go for state provision.