The political debate over the government requiring catholic institutions to provide contraceptive coverage in the health care plans of their employees is not only continuing, it’s getting much hotter. And it’s a debate that should have never happened.
The bottom line here is that, in a lot of ways, we’d be better off if we had a single-payer health care system where you didn’t have employers involved.
That was Peter Welsh, making the single most important point of the day on how we got to here. The health care bill that President Obama signed into law is a virtually indescribable mess of compromises that included massive government giveaways to the pharmaceutical industry and most importantly to the health insurance industry. The heartless conniving health insurance industries’ reward for decades for driving the cost of health care beyond the reach of 50 million people in the country was not government control of the industry’s pricing, but rather a government-delivered subsidy to help people buy wildly, over-priced health insurance with no real controls imposed on the price of that health insurance.
You watched the saga of the health care bill becoming a law for over a year, right here on this network. Night after night you saw a relentless stream of complaints about the compromises the democrats were making in response to the lobbying demands of the pharmaceutical industry and the health insurance industry. You watched as it became perfectly reasonable and acceptable and routine to describe the bill here on this network as a wind fall for the insurance companies.
But the worst compromise of all was made before the democrats wrote the first word of the legislation. They compromised on their ideal solution, single-payer health care for all, in effect, opening medicare for everyone.
Medicare for all Teddy Kennedy used to call it. It was his ideal and it was President Obama’s ideal long before he was candidate for president.
I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan. Everybody in, nobody out. Single-payer health care plan, universal health care plan, that’s what I’d like to see.
Five years later, as a candidate for president, then Senator Obama said this about single payer.
I never said that we should try to go ahead and get single payer. what I said was if I was starting from scratch, if we didn’t have a system in which employers typically provided health care, I would probably go with a single payer system.
When president obama and the democrats went to work on health care reform, they never once even considered a single-payer solution. The word solution only applies to the single-payer model. Anything other than single payer, anything that continues to maintain the oligarchy of the health insurance companies, and the dysfunctional market they have created and manipulate every day, is not worthy of the word solution.
With a single-payer solution abandoned at the start, the democrats embarked on writing a by-the-way bill that would continue to sustain and promote the dominance of health insurance companies and continue to rely on employers to provide health insurance for their workers.
Employers should not be in the health insurance business. Carmakers should be making cars, not trying to figure out the rigged health insurance market.
So, the new health care law did not solve our problems. It simply traded some problems for new problems. The newest problem involves the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church, as an institution, running hospitals and schools all around the world, is not confronted by a theological challenge of the kind we’re seeing today in any of the other countries where it employs people because those countries do not make the irresponsible mistake of relying on employers to help to pay for their workers’ health insurance. This is a uniquely American problem because the American health care system is and remains a unique mess, where we now, after three years of the most successful health care reform president we have ever had, now have more people without health insurance in this country than when George W. Bush was president.
And that is no fault of President Obama. That is the fault of our employer-based private health insurance system. When unemployment goes up in our system, people lose not just their jobs, they lose their health care. In other countries, they justs lose their jobs. Those countries think that is bad enough. Losing your job and your health care with it is an unrelenting piece of American inhumanity that will be with us forever under the new health care law.
The law is frequently and always falsely described as one that will achieve universal coverage in this country, that everyone will be covered. That is not true. That was never true. In the first draft of the legislation, it very deliberately and consciously left out 30 million people. Only in America can you write legislation that leaves out 30 or 25 million people as the law now does and claim you have covered everyone.
You have heard in the last couple of days people arguing that it is very important that we make sure all women have contraceptive care, and they are absolutely right. But all women in this country do not now have contraceptive care, and under this bill they never ever will. Not all of them. The new health care law makes no attempt to cover all women or all men. More than half of the 25 million people who will be left without any health insurance forever are women. They will forever not have any access to contraception other than paying for it at top dollar cost, over the counter, which none of them will be able to afford. They are and will remain throughout this debate the forgotten women of healthcare reform.