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We Smell A Rat In The Health Insurance “Overhaul”

By James Donahue

When President Barack Obama campaigned for office he promised affordable health insurance for everyone without raising taxes on anyone but the rich.

“Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes,” he promised as he stumped the nation.

We believe Mr. Obama meant what he said in those days, but he was totally unaware of the disastrous financial bomb that was about to be dropped on the nation during the final weeks of the outgoing Bush/Republican/big business control on Washington. Armed with a strong voter mandate, Obama called for and perhaps was na´ve enough to have expected a cooperative bi-partisan effort by Republican, Democratic and Independent legislators to help achieve his ambitious goals.

When Bush finally left office and Mr. Obama took the reins, few Americans expected the chaotic situation that emerged. We were aware of the controls big business interests have long had over our elected government “leaders,” but somehow we expected something better now that someone as bright and as articulate as Mr. Obama was in charge.

It is no secret that one of Obama’s primary goals has been to accomplish what presidents before him have failed to achieve. That is the overhaul of a failed health care system that has left Americans without adequate or any health insurance coverage at all, forced many families into bankruptcy after being hit with outrageous costs of medical care, and funneled huge financial profits into the pockets of insurance company executives.

The battle over a health care bill designed to provide coverage for everybody has been a complex one, with Republicans and “Blue Dog Democrats” blocking efforts to design a plan that polls show over 60 percent of Americans want. And what Americans want is the same kind of health care Canadians, Britains, Germans, French, and even the Cubans enjoy. It is a government run and government financed system called “socialized medicine.”

Too many of our key members of the Senate and House of Representatives, however, have taken large pay-offs from lobbyists for the health insurance companies and possibly other health providers that stand to lose their grip on the financial profits now being enjoyed under the current system. The word "socialized" has been skillfully villified so that the general public perceives the word to mean "communistic" and something foreign to the American way of life. This, of course, is far from the truth.

It is obvious that the opponents of socialized medicine are working hard to not only protect the insurance companies from government competition, but we suspect they are busy writing legislation that may appear to benefit everyone, but will contain that sneaky “small print” in thick legal jargon wherein can be found the double-cross.

What we are warning is that we must be aware that whatever legislation the Republicans and Blue Dogs like and agree to vote for, will probably benefit the insurance companies more than it will the public.

We recall a time when automobile insurance was encouraged, but was not mandatory. We bought car insurance because it was relatively inexpensive and it gave us comfort in knowing that if we were involved in a traffic mishap, the insurance would cover any liabilities.

Once the state legislators passed laws requiring all vehicle owners to have insurance, the price of insurance went through the roof. It happened nation-wide at about the same time. We realized that we had been exploited not only by the insurance companies, but by the legislators who passed the laws forcing us to buy this insurance.

If federal lawmakers get away with passing a bill that requires every American to buy health insurance or face a stiff fine . . . which we hear is a key part of the bill that is being kicked around Washington this month . . . look out. We could all find ourselves in worse shape than we currently are, with insurance companies digging even deeper into our pockets and CEOs living even higher on the hog than they already are.