Monday, September 17, 2007

Hilarycare Strikes Back

Today Hilary Clinton unveiled her plan to reform America's healthcare system.

Does she propose tort reform, to curtail lawyers' use of lawsuits for personal enrichment on the most vague and unverifiable cases of malpractice- lawsuits that have driven many doctors out of practice and forced the remainder to raise prices to cover their malpractice insurance premiums? No, she doesn't.

Does she propose reform of government regulation, which works to fix prices in some cases, punish those who pay in cash rather than insurance in other cases, and which burden health care professionals with a massive and crippling paperwork burden? No, she doesn't- in fact she proposes new and additional regulation.

No, Hilary doesn't propose to attack either of these most fundamental causes for the massive expense of American healthcare.

Instead she plans to give America universal healthcare coverage... by making it illegal to NOT have health insurance.

(Above link to ABC News. Other variants of the story at CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Houston Chronicle.
Under Hilarycare, all Americans would be forced to buy privately run health insurance, just as today all drivers are forced to buy auto insurance. None of the reports thus far outline what the punishment is if, like a Christian Scientist, you decline health coverage. "Big" employers would also be forced to cover their employees' health insurance, which sounds good until you consider that under the original Hilarycare "big" was defined as as few as five employees- that is, including small mom-and-pop businesses who just cannot afford to offer benefits of any sort to employees.

Hilary claims that those who cannot afford health insurance- individuals and businesses alike- would have a government subsidy to make up the difference, to the tune of about $110 billion per year. There are two obvious questions that spring to mind; first, how many months or years will it take, how many mountains of paperwork will need to be filed, in order to qualify for the subsidy? Second, how do we know that $110 billion isn't like the $380 billion price tag for Bush's prescription drug program that turned into over $700 billion once it was actually enacted?

Clinton's plan would make it illegal for any insuror to turn away any person for any reason, and likewise illegal to charge those with chronic illnesses more than those who are healthy. However, Clinton does not put a cap on how much insurors can charge. The end result can be seen a mile off: vastly more expensive health insurance, as the private insurors justify higher rates for all by pointing to the sick people they have to cover.

Quoting from the Fox News version of the Associated Press story:

Dismissing the inevitable Republican criticism, Clinton admonished the crowd. "I know my Republican opponents will try to equate health care for all Americans with government-run health care. Don't let them fool us again. This is not government-run."

No, it's not. It's corporate-run. It's corporate welfare on a massive scale, to benefit an industry which absolutely does not need any more help from the government. It's a plan almost tailor-made to transfer massive amounts of cash into the pockets of insurance executives, with no material improvement in actual healthcare.

Instead of making health care cheaper for the sick, the new Hilarycare would make it vastly more expensive for the mostly healthy. Furthermore, it would make the cost of healthcare a mandatory expense- something no citizen can choose to do without for the sake of balancing the household budget. Finally, Clinton leaves the final power over healthcare in the hands of insurance corporations, who have proven themselves wholly untrustworthy time and again, seeking only profit and doing all in their power to deny coverage to their own policy holders.

Socialized medicine? Hell no, Hilarycare isn't socialized medicine. I'd prefer socialized medicine to this garbage. This is corporatized medicine- what we have now, only more so.

If there was no such thing as a third party, if the Dems and Repubs were the only options on the table, at this point my vote would be for Obama. He also proposes universal healthcare, but at least he points out the truth: that forcing a universal individual mandate for health insurance on the poor is just not feasible until the actual cost of healthcare comes down.

And that means stopping junk lawsuits and reducing government overregulation and price controls on healthcare- something trial lawyers like Hilary Clinton and John Edwards would never, ever consider. I don't know if Obama is considering it either- because I'm NOT a Democrat and don't intend to become one anytime soon- but at least he isn't trying to put Scotch tape on the current broken system and pretend that's the only fix needed.

I prefer honest Obama socialism to corrupt Clinton boondoggles.

No comments: