Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Health Care Expense Question

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I’m beginning to take quite the contrarian role in the health care debate.  Representatives and Senators are fools if they think that the American people don’t want real reform of the care system (note: insurance reform isn’t the same thing!).  They’re fools if they think that there won’t be a consequence in the 2010 elections if real reform isn’t passed this year.  Oh, the 2013 start date for the reform?  Also not a good idea.  Most Americans don’t want reform in 4 years, after the 2012 Presidential election.  They want it next year, at the latest.  But by too many measures now, there remain too many reform obstructionists, both Con and Democrat alike.  So as an activist, I ask myself, “How should the ground be shifted to get the work done?”  Volumes of statistics haven’t done it.  People dying by the thousands haven’t done it (interesting how 3,000 dead people on 9/11 “changed everything” though, isn’t it?).  So what would do it?

Well, I really liked Rep. Anthony Weiner’s idea to shut down Medicare on January 1st, 2010.  I like it for the reason I stated yesterday: it proves that the Cons really aren’t against government-run health care.  If they had the courage of their convictions, every one of them would have voted to kill Medicare.  But they don’t.  They’re sniveling little cowards, which has been proven all too often.  I like it for another reason.  Given enough threats, it could get a key demographic group to take notice and come out in more public, vocal support for health care reform.

Then I read something that I think could make a difference:

Still, insurers are pushing back against several proposals that lawmakers see as favorable to consumers. One proposal would prevent insurers from charging older Americans more than twice the rates charged to younger people. Insurers want to be able to charge older people as much as five times more.

At first, this generated a feeling of anger at the insurance corporations.  They’re already racking up record profits quarter after quarter.  How much profit is enough?  But then, I thought to myself, “This is actually perfect!”.  What demographic group is listened to by politicians?  Older people; seniors; those over 65, perhaps over 55.  If they were charged 5 times as much as younger people, and the insurance corporations want Congress to legislate that everybody must buy insurance, seniors would flip.  I understand their care costs more.  But if everybody has to buy insurance, that care would be paid for.  But on top of it, in their greed, insurance corporations want to quintuple the amount younger people are charged.  Does Congress seriously think this would be allowed to continue very long?  I know what the insurance corporations think – they’ll get no blowback for this.  They’re quite mistaken about that.  I can easily see legions of seniors bombarding Congress with demands to put the insurance corporations back under control and open up choices to new care programs.

So I say go for it!  I say the insurance corporations should be able to charge older people 10 times what younger people have to pay.  They’ll nearly literally sign their own death warrants as a result.  And America would join the rest of the civilized world by implementing universal health care.

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