Defund or decontaminate?

October 17, 2013

Although it is well-written, Paul Burnley’s Oct. 9 column on the editorial page of the Raeford News-Journal missed the point. There is no need in our great nation for “… a health plan that covers all citizens.” America simply needs a self-supporting health care system for our uninsured. Citizens who can afford for-profit insurance are already covered, and wealthy citizens, who do not have to struggle to pay their health insurance premiums, are perfectly satisfied.

Mr. Burnley wrote: “Other administrations have tried for over fifty years to introduce medical programs that would cover every citizen, but all have been voted down by members of congress who, by the way, have one of the greatest health plans in the country, which is paid for by the taxpayers”. Yes, for over half-a-century, medical programs have been voted down by politicians enjoying absolutely great taxpayer funded health coverage, but the plans they voted down were not designed to cover every citizen; such plans were designed to cover the uninsured, which would have led to health coverage for every citizen. Citizens with adequate health insurance coverage would have been unaffected.

“The objection to a nation medical program is the cost.” This is true, because too many Americans have been rhetorically tricked into believing that a federally regulated public option would be federally funded. The public option proposals continually voted down over the last five decades would have been funded by the policy holders, in the same manner as Social Security and Workmen’s Compensation, which are neither entitlements nor welfare; the payments would have been collected via payroll, retirement or other check deduction. However, the premiums would be based on policy holders’ incomes, rather than corporate profitability.

“Because all of the policy holders would not need medical care at the same time, the collective premiums would be enough to cover the treatment of those who did, as long as corporate CEOs were not paid tremendous salaries plus bonuses, and stockholders were not paid dividends. If yearly evaluations revealed a surplus, premiums could have been lowered; if a deficit occurred, premiums could have been raised. People who could have afforded for-profit health insurance would have been totally unaffected.

“The greatest misunderstanding concerning a national health care plan is that you will not be able to choose your own doctor or hospital. This is not true.”

And that is not true, but it is not the greatest misunderstanding. The greatest misunderstanding is that a national health care plan for the uninsured would be a taxpayer funded entitlement.

President Obama’s original proposal, a public option based on the same principle as Social Security and Workmen’s Compensation, would have been supported solely by the premiums collected from the policy holders. When he compromised in order to at least get something passed, the lucrative insurance industry came right back into the picture, and the Affordable Care Act became the contaminated “Obamacare,” that pales in comparison to the public option proposal. But why?

The answer is very simple. When and if our economy recovers, and workers again or for the first time make adequate wages to support a reasonable quality of life, who among them would willingly give up the affordable non-profit public option, and voluntarily purchase high-dollar for-profit health insurance policies? Left in its original form, a public option would have been not only self supporting, but affordable for the uninsured. Did our nation’s insurance industry generously allow uninsured American citizens a sensible public option, or pollute it with undesirable add-ons to discredit if not destroy the original proposal, lest they lose potential customers when and if working Americans’ jobs return to our country? And who makes tremendous campaign contributions to the politicians who deliberately polluted the original proposal into Obamacare, lest it be self-supporting rather than taxpayer funded, and provide a much-needed option for displaced American workers and our working poor?

Does our great nation need a medical care program for all, or a self-supporting non-profit public option for our uninsured, which would result in coverage for all?

Think about it, please.

Robert C. Currie Jr.