Belaboring the Obvious

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Call me crazy...

... but, isn't this one of the basic reasons for health care reform?:

"If you establish a public option at the forefront that goes head-to-head and competes with the private health insurance market ... the public option will have significant price advantages,..."

The speaker prefaces this remark by saying that it would be unfair of the government to just jump right in with a public option to health care. The speaker, by the way, is multi-term United States Senator Olympia Snowe.

Which sort of proves that H.L. Mencken was right when he said, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

Mencken must have been thinking about Maine when he said that. After all, they keep putting this "moderate" intellectual midget in office, term after term.

Hey, Sen. Snowe, it's quite simple. We pay double what other countries pay, for worse care, and the real reason for that is that for-profit entities have regional monopolies on the health care system.

Most any casual student of business understands that the inevitable course of an enduring corporation is from competition for market share to competitive advantage to monopoly, which effectively negates all of the happy talk about "free markets" by destroying competition (it is competition, after all, which is supposed to give us all the great benefits of higher quality at lower prices). It's why health care delivery in this country is thoroughly broken and has failed so many millions of people.

Therefore, it is necessary for government to step in and create competition again (most often by regulation and oversight to minimize market-gaming strategies and fraud and price-fixing by the erstwhile monopolists, because monopolists never give up monopolies voluntarily--instead, they invoke the ghost of Milton Friedman).

Nor can we forget--as the good Senator seems to have done--that health care doesn't always obey typical rules of supply and demand and markets. It's a bit like water--if you don't get enough of it when you need it, you die. And since people dying for lack of health care--just as people dying for lack of food or water--seems to run counter to the intent of the preamble to the Constitution to "promote the general welfare," it would seem that it is a Constitutional obligation of a United States Senator to rectify the problem in ways that benefit all citizens, rather than the few with large health-care stock portfolios and the financial ability to hire lobbyists to further their own narrow interest in profit over societal benefit.

Here's some ABC-type information for Senator Snowe: for-profit health care corporations make their money by denying health care to people who have purchased insurance for it, and by overcharging them for health care whenever possible. Neither of those corporate behaviors will lead to a healthier, more productive society, nor do they fulfill the Constitutional mandate to promote the general welfare. To defend such practices by saying competition isn't fair is foolish or corrupt, or both.


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