It was very interesting to hear Ted Cruz tip his hand last night in an instance of classic Washington double-speak. We’re going to let you hear one thing while we are actually saying something entirely different. He said that he would repeal “every last word” of Obamacare and would replace it with his plan, which had three main points.
First, “we should allow people to buy health insurance across state lines. That’ll create a true 50-state national marketplace while we drive down the cost of low-cost catastrophic health insurance.” – From that, I would take it that he wants to create even larger corporate health insurance providers who will focus on providing catastrophic health insurance (what we used to call major medical) for those instances when you have to go to the hospital. That would allow any other form of health insurance, for say, doctor visits, to continue to climb through the roof while mega-corporations put other insurers out of business. The net result would be the exact opposite of what anyone would call “health care.”
Second, “we should expand health savings accounts so people can save in a tax-advantaged way for more routine health care needs.” I have had HSA health insurance and it is a bust. The HSA account is linked to a very high deductible type of plan which essentially insures that you will pay every minor health care bill entirely out of pocket. The notion that this account can build over time to provide some manner of nest egg of tax-protected health care fund, is nonsense. Your employer contribution is capped, so any contribution you make is after taxes anyway and it is minimized by the cost of the health insurance you still need.
Third, “we should work to delink health insurance from your employment, so if you lose your job, your health insurance goes with you.” In other words, at the end of the day, all of this will be on you. We will remove the responsibility from employers to provide health care coverage, thus increasing their bottom line. Tell me Ted, if you lose your job and your health insurance goes with you, how the hell are you going to pay for it?
Folks, there is a very interesting point to bear in mind here. It has to do with language. Language can be very precise, when we want it to be. The Republicans and Hilary Clinton continue to talk about health “insurance.” You don’t need health “insurance,” you need health “care.” They are two very different animals.
Health “insurance” is that plastic card in your wallet which promises to bail you out should your health “care” costs get too high. It is a gamble. You are gambling that you will need that coverage and the health insurance company is gambling that you won’t (and now, your government is requiring that you play the game!). And the insurance companies are hedging their bets by setting higher and higher deductibles and out of pocket costs and capping benefits.
So, what we are seeing all over the country now are people who have health insurance but can not afford to go to the doctor. Where does the money go? If you don’t go to your doctor, your doctor does not get paid. The money stays in the insurance company’s coffers, which get richer and richer. Then, the insurance company puts more and more money into lobbyists to make sure that the system stays exactly the same.
The point on which we need to focus is that what we need is health “care.” If we can cut out the middle man which is the insurance company and can negotiate at a federal level with big-medicine and big-pharmaceuticals, the way every other industrialized country in the world does, the cost of our care can come down while the quality of our care remains high. It has been demonstrated time and again, all over the world.
A single payer system is the only way that the middle and working class people of this country can escape the burden of the rising cost of health insurance and can put more of their hard earned money back into the economy, to jump start it. Cruz, the Republicans, Clinton and Establishment Politicians in Washington have become too accustomed to having their own pockets lined by lobbyists for institutions which would drive the entire nation further into debt, with little to nothing to show for it.