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August 17, 2009

Health Care Decision: Who Does Government Help?

-- by Dave Johnson

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

The health care debate is bringing America's division out into the open: Is America going to work for the benefit of its people or for the few who benefit from concentrated ownership of large corporations? Who is our economy FOR, anyway?

The argument over health care comes down to a clear choice: will the government provide a public choice that offers good health coverage to citizens for a low cost, or instead leave only a private system where the government promotes and subsidizes insurance companies (and their CEOs)?

The "public option" is an attempt to offer a choice between private insurance that is about maximizing profit for a few and a system designed to maximize benefits for the many. That is the difference between private companies and government. Government is We, the People banding together to empower and protect each other. Private companies are about systems that get money from people and try to deliver back as little as possible in return. The private system can work very well to incentivize innovation in consumer and other products. But health care delivery is not a "product" it is a human need and profit has no place in a health care delivery system.

Think about it, the perfected private company just taps into everyone's bank accounts and puts the money into the company's coffers, and that's it. Nothing has to be delivered in return. This is not unlike what AOL's business model became -- they just kept sucking out of your account long after you started trying to cancel the service!

Many health insurance companies apparently try to operate like this. You pay and pay, and then when you need the insurance to cover your medical expenses they find ways to get out of providing the service you had been paying for.

But government is We, the People taking care of each other. In a democracy everyone should have equal access to essential services. It must be delivered by the entity concerned with maximizing benefits to the people and that is government. The public option is essential.

Posted by Dave Johnson at August 17, 2009 9:07 AM


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