Friday, October 02, 2009

Without Public Option It's Just a Corporate Giveaway

Healthcare reform could turn out to be yet another huge corporate rip-off of the public. If we end up being forced to buy insurance from the same companies that have been getting filthy rich by continually raising rates and increasingly denying coverage, we’ll be the big losers. The only way to ensure that mandatory insurance coverage will work to the advantage of the public is to include a public option that will induce private insurance companies to make their offerings fair and affordable.

Without a public option we’d be left with a requirement that we must fork over hundreds of dollars a month to corporate fat cats in hopes that larger numbers of policy holders and more competition will lower the cost. But competition isn’t what it used to be. The Corporate Titans have learned to “coordinate” their profiteering among themselves. It’ll be just like gas prices. The petroleum companies know that we have to gas up, no matter what the price. If we are all forced to buy health insurance from the for-profit corporations, it will be a similar situation.

But a public option would pool a huge number of policy holders, forcing the private insurers to bring their profits down to earth. A public, non-profit insurance option would not be paying multi-million-dollar bonuses to executives. A public, non-profit option would not have to spend billions on advertising. A public option would not have to hire lobbiests or make campaign contributions. It would otherwise operate just like a private insurance company, but under stricter regulations. There would be laws against excluding people because of pre-existing conditions or charging impossible premiums.

Making insurance coverage mandatory is a good idea if, and only if we have the option of buying our insurance from a public, non-profit provider. If we end up without a choice, being forced to pay for the same old coverage from the same old, greedy corporations; that would be a huge scam.

Everyone should contact Senators Bennet and Udall, and Representative Salazar to let them know that we want to have a choice between for-profit, corporate insurance, and non-profit public insurance.

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