Editorial

Health care fails us only because government fails us

Posted

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been a disaster for America, especially when it comes to our amazing institutions like our health insurance companies.

And the numbers don’t lie: $2.3 billion for Aetna. Just under $2.5 billion for Blue Cross Blue Shield’s for-profit arm, Anthem. And a whopping $7 billion for the nation’s largest insurer, UnitedHealth Group.

Wait, those aren’t losses. That’s actual profit reported by these companies in 2016.

Not that there’s anything wrong with profit. Every good business needs to make a profit. Yet this money has poured into investor pockets despite all of these insurers whining about how terrible the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, has been to them.

If only all of us could be devastated by a meaningful government program, but still pocket $11.8 billion.

The Affordable Care Act certainly had its critics, and on both sides of the aisle. But those critics couldn’t be further apart. 

Conservatives, on one hand, believe health care should be left up to the states, and better yet, to these massive corporations like UnitedHealth and Aetna. Progressives, on the other hand, believe Obamacare doesn’t go far enough. That what this country really needs is a single-payer health system, like what sustains many other highly industrialized countries. 

Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried agrees. Last February, when Congressional Republicans backed by President Trump were working hard to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Gottfried introduced what he calls the New York Health Act. This act would more or less expand a Medicaid-like system that would essentially create a single-payer health care plan.

That means everyone — and we mean everyone — would have access to health care, unfettered by financial constraints. 

There would be no premiums. No co-pays. No deductibles. No maximums. No pre-existing conditions. No fearing a hospital room visit by the business office trying to figure out how you’re going to pay your bill.

Everyone is covered, and we use the billions we already dump into insurance companies — minus the massive profits — to make it work.

The primary complaint from these insurance companies under Obamacare was that there weren’t enough healthy people signing up for the program to off-set the sick. Well, there’s one way to ensure the balance they’re looking for: Sign everyone up to a single system.

Yes, government would have to manage our health care, and that’s a scary prospect. Yet we entrust our government to do so many other things that affect us every day, from building roads, to funding police and fire departments, even delivering water to our homes.

Government is not perfect, and we need a lot of improvement there. But right now, there is no motivation by health care facilities to lower costs, not while profit-hungry insurance companies are willing to pay those costs, and then pass that on to all of us, their customers.

If Obamacare isn’t working, it’s not because we don’t need change. It’s simply that we need the right change.

Comments

1 comment on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
Democrap 4 life

We need the "government" to tell us what education our children should have, what types of food are approved and of course the government should be totally held accountable for us from birth until death

People are morons and knowing how stupid we are it is a blessing to have government housing, healthcare, government set aside jobs and of course a quota system

No human being in the USA should have to have personal responsibility we have elected officials to such as the Clinton's to teach us about self respect, morals and honesty

We need Bernie Sanders for king of America as millionaire Bernie understands the plight of poor folks.

The idea that someone would start their own mom and pop business goes against the very teachings of Chucky (cry baby) schmuer, Feinstein and Madam Pelosi .

The "Government"local state or federal knows more about proper medical care then doctors.

We have politicians such as Pelosi and Schmuer in office almost 30 years and they think they finally got it right

Being responsible for your ow lot in life is again GOD AND COUNTRY

The government must double pay roll taxes so we can have FREE health care . Triple the price of buses or subways and tolls and gasoline and tax land lords especially as they have no right to make a profit and not "spread the wealth" with out fellow "citizens of the world" that invaded this country and are "entitled" to free medical, free food, free medical, free education and the "government" will take care of them as they have for the past 4 generations on handout funding

Wednesday, May 17