Friday, April 25, 2008

Universal Health Care: It’s About That Job You Hate

Senator Ron Wyden (D - Oregon) is hyping his universal health care bill in a big way. He has it highlighted on his website His bill, S. 334, The Healthy Americans Act, is co-sponsored by 14 fellow senators, will guarantee that every American has health insurance. The angle Sen. Wyden is plugging is that too many Americans stay in jobs that they don’t want, live lives that they hate, and all because they are afraid of going without the health insurance that their employers provide.

It’s a good angle. Not because it is the most important consideration in all of this - there are, after all, millions of Americans without health insurance – but it is a fair point.

A point that Wyden has exploited in this hilarious video that you can find on his website, or just click on the embed below.

Wyden filed this bill on practically day one of the current session, on January 18, 2007. It hasn’t gone very far, nor has its related bill in the House, HR 3163 by Baird Ryan (WA - 3). Taking a look at it, it looks like we the people would fund the insurance from payroll deductions, the richer pay more, the poorer pay less. But most importantly, it appears to be self-funding, that is, tobacco companies can keep their ill-gotten lucre; they won’t have to pay into this, so they don’t have to worry about lobbying against it. The big loser appears to be the health insurance industry. Yes they can compete but under new rules.

And still, I hold very little hope for this bill this year. Universal Health Insurance is something for next year. It is something for next year, when Democrats will have a supermajority in the House and Senate, and a Democrat will be holding the veto stamp.

It’s for next year . . . unless the Democrats blow themselves out of the water. And if that’s the case, then I guess we’ll all have to keep our sorry jobs for a little while longer.


Anonymous said...

There is a lot of talks about universal health care, but nobody point's out one thing. I am working in insurance, beside term life insurance we are dealing health insurance as well (here in Canada it's about 30% of medical expenses, public health care is much bigger) so I have picture how much funds is inside. But it's just maybe 1% of what you have inside! How do you want to move so many billions of dollars? US private health insurance is one of the biggest industries in US and politicians just say: "we will change it!" Nonsense, it can't be done so easily...

Hal said...

No argument. America is driven by dollars and this has been institutionalized since WWII. It is going to take a paradigm shift in American politics and in the American psyche for universal health care to become a reality here. I've already witnessed the second in a local town hall meeting, where a card carrying Republican tried to educate her Democratic congressman (Lampson) on Rep. Dingell's HR 676. A universal health care bill that has been filed every year of Dingell's congressional career.

Imagine that, a Republican trying to convince a moderate Democrat to vote for Dingell's bill. I think Americans are at last ready to make the transition to "socialized medicine" by first attacking the insurance industry - an industry that has reduced countless families to bankruptcy. It has come down to whether our politicians have the political resolve to fight the insurance lobby.