Gallery I
Sucker Punch
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Why Mandated Health Insurance Won’t Work

By James Donahue

While it may not be the final version, the health reform bill that just cleared the Senate is a sucker punch in the face of the American public. It will require everyone to buy health insurance if they don’t already have coverage. It will be a violation of law for anyone to fail to do so.

The sales pitch behind this insane piece of legislation is that when everybody, even healthy people, buy health coverage, everybody shares the cost of taking care of people suffering major medical expenses, thus the cost of insurance goes down for everybody.

Don’t believe it.

We heard the same kind of argument back when legislation requiring all drivers to have car insurance on their vehicles went into effect back in the 1950s. This writer is old enough to have owned and operated a car before the automobile insurance requirement went into effect. My insurance cost went from a minimum and very affordable level to a rate so high that I was forced to drop full coverage. I just could not afford it. I have been driving old clunkers with minimum insurance coverage ever since.

That happened even though there were lots of automobile insurance providers in competition with each other. Once we were forced to buy insurance on those vehicles, and the police were ticketing drivers who could not produce proof that they bought insurance on their cars, the automobile insurance companies knew they had us over a barrel. This form of legal robbery has been going on ever since.

Now our sold-out legislators are about to force all Americans to buy health insurance under the guise of giving health insurance providers financial relief and guaranteeing affordable health coverage for all. Without a public option, or a chance to buy into the Medicare system, those greedy insurance companies will have no real competition.

If compassionate people were in top jobs in those health insurance companies, the plan might work. The logic is there and the statistics show that everybody could benefit from a shared public health insurance program. But that is the key word. It must be a “public” program. We are talking about a socialized system like the ones that are working very well throughout Europe, Canada and several other nations throughout the world.

Putting the program in the hands of privately operated big health insurance corporations is like paying the foxes to guard the hen house. It just ain’t gonna work.

Greed and the quest for more and more profits are the mind-sets that drive the corporate machine. The CEO’s and other top executives are out to generate even greater corporate profits so stockholders are happy and they get to take home those billion dollar year-end bonuses. How can we trust them to reduce insurance costs and make coverage affordable when the law leaves the door open for a massive financial rape of the masses?

This is the most devious double-cross ever devised by the insurance industry and our sold-out Senators.

A story in the Huffington Post quoted columnist Jane Hamsher as listing the following reasons why the Senate plan is cockeyed and wrong:

--It forces workers to pay up to eight percent of their income to private insurance companies. Failure to buy insurance will amount to a fine of up to two percent of the annual income by the IRS.

--Many workers will be forced to buy poor-quality insurance with $11,900 in yearly deductibles to be paid in addition to yearly insurance premiums. Who can meet deductibles like that? 

--The cost of the plan will be paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan some people already have through their employer. This will cause a cut back in benefits and an increase in co-payments. Also the taxes to pay for the bill will start now, but most Americans won’t see any benefits until 2014 when the program begins.

--Insurance companies will have no cap on what they can charge. Older Americans and those with pre-existing conditions can get insurance (after 2014, but they could be charged 300 percent more than others.

--The bill includes extreme restrictions on a woman’s right to choose, thus becoming a challenge to Roe vs. Wade in the Supreme Court.

 If Congress doesn’t fix this legislation before it goes on the President’s desk, we strongly urge Mr. Obama to veto the bill. If it becomes law in its present form, it may be time for the people to rise up in revolt.

The alternative will be to defy the law, defy the IRS and go to jail or submit and go bankrupt. Going to jail for refusing to buy insurance and pay the IRS fine might not be that bad. Most state jails and prisons provide a roof over your head, a warm bed, three meals a day and medical services, which is more than many homeless Americans have now.