What Needs to be Addressed to Solve Health Care, and Some Ludicrous Claims Highlighted by the Washington Post

A Washington Post editorial on health care reform this past weekend, noted the following:

As an example of the hyperbole, take the ludicrous assertion by Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) that the Democratic measure "is the greatest threat to freedom that I've seen in the 19 years I've been in Washington." Come on. The proposal has been endorsed by the American Medical Association and the AARP, hardly wild-eyed radicals.

The editorial is right to point out the absurdity of Boehner's statement.  Not to mention the irony, given that Boehner was a staunch supporter of the controlling, highly restrictive, and power amassing Bush Administration, as well as a supporter of almost every congressional bill this decade that either was highly intrusive and/or expanded government power over individual rights -- something the Post neglected to mention.

But is it really necessary for the AARP and the AMA to have endorsed the proposal in order to be able to point out the ridiculous rhetorical overdosing by Boehner over it?

Hardly. Whether this or that group does or does not endorse a bill does not reflect the accuracy or absurdity of such a statement, which instead requires an examination of the role of government currently in health care, and the facts.  Something that seems to be short supply these days, when it comes to this same media.

As a separate issue, it is valid to point out that the reasonably conservative AMA endorses the bill. But why must the Post then link this point directly to the inane, and wholly gratuitious assertion that the AMA and the AARP are not "wild eyed radicals"? 

Does this need to be stated? And are other opponents of the far right wing Boehner "wild eyed radicals"?  Where are these "wild eyed" radicals? 

Fairly few and far between, it seems, and largely insignificant. Although on the other side of the equation -- and also largely unmentioned by the Post -- there seem to be quite a number of them on talk radio propogating similar outrageous claims on a routine basis.

Not to mention some more in Congress, including those who outlandishly assert that the Democratic measure "is the greatest threat to freedom that I've seen in the 19 years I've been in Washington."

The Post also has its laundry list of concerns with the current proposal. But what the paper misses is that one of the biggest failures of this bill is that it not only fails to address the biggest cause of excessive health care costs -- rampant middleman health insurance for routine health care -- but in essence it adds to it.

The fact is, health care in this country DOES NOT operate under real capitalism now. Almost no one bargains with their doctors. Few have the chance to compare costs. Most are hostage to their insurance companes. And these insurance companies are already often dictating the terms of medical decisions, leaving consumers -- who have given their health dollars to the insurance company rather than directly to their own medical care -- left holding the bag for which there is no money left when coverage, treatement or needed tests are denied. 

If there is going to be health insurance, and the government is going to be involved, spending several hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money annually (and rapidly rising) as it does now -- spending more on health care than anything other than national defense and the fully separately funded Social Security -- it has to be non profit. And more limited.

Catastrophic coverage by the government, or by insurance companies, still makes more sense than the current system that we have -- whereby consumers held hostage economically by insurance companies wind up paying ever and ever increasing fees, while all kinds of often ridiculous and wholly wasteful attendant costs are incurred at almost every step of the way. And all at a profit for large health insurance conglomerates that are essentially covering things that individuals should be paying directly themselves -- into either their own actual health care and or prevention -- while at the same time having the effect of making things far more expensive for government by increasing health care costs across the board.

No one wants to say it.  Particularly the health insurance industry lobby which Congress seems to have its hands deep in the pockets of. (Just google health insurance industry related donations to Congress). But Health insurance, apart from health insurance which covers each individual only for what for them would be catastrophic, is essentially an enormous, needless waste, that greatly compounds our overall private and public costs .

Fixing the system, and the incredible waste in our country on health care relative to the results obtained -- now near 18 percent of our entire GDP -- requires fixing this.

Not adding to it.