U.S. puts profits ahead of health care for citizens

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President Trump seemed to gloat as he envisioned Obamacare imploding or exploding all over the people who rely on it.

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump | AP Photo

But he’s not the only one anxiously anticipating that event in the aftermath of the failed Obamacare repeal and replace movement in Congress. Conservative Republicans sound gleeful when they talk about insurance companies pulling out of the program, leaving consumers at the mercy of the remaining private insurers who hike their premiums.

As for Democrats, they originally designed Obamacare to crash and burn within the next few years. The idea from the beginning was to prop up the Affordable Care Act just long enough to get millions of people on its rolls, making the entitlement so much a part of the American culture that it would be political suicide for conservatives to pull the plug.

OPINION


It looks like that scheme may have worked given the number of Republicans in the U.S. House this month who insisted on replacing Obamacare instead of simply repealing it.

The problem, of course, is that there is no realistic replacement plan.

That’s because as far as most elected officials are concerned this issue is really about political gamesmanship, not about providing Americans with quality health care and cutting the cost of prescription drugs.

What we have in the United States is a health care industry designed to make billions of dollars for private health insurance companies and pharmaceutical firms, while keeping workers at the mercy of employers if they want to protect their families against a medical crisis and financial disaster.

Trump actually seems to understand this on some level, which is why he talked about reducing the cost of prescription drugs and promised during his campaign to provide quality health care at affordable prices to all Americans..

The problem with health insurance in this country is that voters really don’t want to take the time to understand the issue. As Trump discovered after entering the White House, “it’s complicated.”

A major part of the problem is that the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries have spent fortunes on misinformation campaigns that have convinced many consumers that national health care would be a nightmare, even as seniors happily enroll in Medicare.

According to those who oppose national health insurance, our health care is best left in the hands of private companies because competition in the marketplace will keep the cost of insurance premiums down, while providing a wonderful variety of insurance options to the general public.

There is no basis in reality in such nonsense. We all know that the cost of private insurance has caused many employers stop offering health insurance as a benefit. Those that continue to offer health insurance have complained repeatedly about the soaring cost of premiums year after year.

Many have passed the increased premium costs on to their employees who see their paychecks dwindling, while at the same time reducing the coverage of the plans they offer.

Co-pays are higher and more common. Deductibles are skyrocketing. Many employees are opting to open health savings accounts to subsidize their medical costs meaning even larger out-of-pocket expenditures.

And before the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was passed, insurance companies refused to insure people who were sick. The free market shut its doors on people with pre-existing conditions, or decided to charge them so much money for premiums that health insurance was simply unaffordable.

Obamacare may indeed self-destruct, leaving Americans at the mercy of the marketplace, which has none.

Medical care is a human right everywhere else in the free world. Only the U.S. places profit ahead of people.

Email: philkadner@gmail.com

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.


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