The public option is not an essential component of health care reform. That’s the sentiment that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama, and others are putting out, signaling their willingness to compromise on one of the most controversial items in the reform bills currently being debated.
The idea they are floating is that a health insurance exchange — without a public option — will do the trick. So it’s back to the private insurers. But there is no reason to believe that the fight will end there. The rest of the reforms that are designed to protect people with pre-existing conditions, or those who cannot afford coverage, will be attacked. Insurers are happy to court the young and healthy, but they are not interested in helping the sick. The free market system will never work when it comes to health.
Opponents of health care reform continue to dominate the airwaves, shouting down those who disagree and spreading fear about government intervention in health care. They are gaining the upper hand.
If you are a proponent of comprehensive health care reform, now is the time to make your voice heard. President Obama and Democratic members of Congress were voted into office largely on the platform of real reform — which included a public option. Let’s hold them to it.
Single-payer? Forget it. Public option? Maybe not. Pretty soon we’ll give up on covering the uninsured or protecting people with pre-existing conditions. On the other hand, maybe we’ll keep the provision that everyone is required to have coverage. Yes, we could even end up in worse shape than when we started. A small bandage on a gaping wound is of little use.
The scariest part of all this is that if we don’t tackle reform now, it’s going to be a very long time before anyone dares try again. This is it, folks.
When all is said and done, we quite possibly could end up with a bill that makes everybody happy. The Democrats will be happy because they managed to pass a bill of some kind. The Republicans will be happy because no real reform was passed.
The big winners will be the insurers, who will continue to deny care and rescind policies from those who need it the most. The losers? You guessed it. Us again.
If you want to see a major overhaul of our current health care system, please sign these petitions: Support Historic Health Bill and We Demand a Public Option. Tell President Obama and Congress why we need comprehensive health care reform NOW.
If you are truly opposed to any form of government-run health care, you’ll want to sign this petition: I Pledge to Deny Myself Medicare for Life!