Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Health Care Dreaming



I am having a difficult time understanding what the problem is with fixing our present health care system. When Benjamin Franklin helped form the first fire insurance company in 1752, all policy holders paid the same premium in to the company. When any individual suffered a fire, the company reimbursed him for his loss. It was a simple idea, and it worked.
There was no thought of earning a profit. Why should there be? As I understand it, the function of an insurance company is to process claims. Period. It is supposed to be a mutual thing, designed for the benefit of the policy holders. Make a profit for helping people? Give me a break! Did the good Samaritan send a bill for helping the injured stranger? No, he actually paid the innkeeper to look after the man.
I realize that capitalists do not do things that way, but we are not talking about a product here; we are talking about promoting the general welfare as spelled out in the Preamble to the Constitution.
There is a lot of hesitation about a “public option;” the  idea that the government pays the bills. It would compete with private companies – perhaps even force them out of business. So what? All of the profits they are presently enjoying would go toward lower premiums. The government’s aim would be to break even – not make a profit.
But wouldn’t all those employees become unemployed if the public option is adopted? No – claims would still need to be processed, and the processors would work for the government. Those insurance company employees whose job it is to invent profit-making schemes would have to look elsewhere for work. Perhaps they could find employment with a Bernie Madoff knockoff.
I know I have vastly oversimplified the way out of the current health care mess,  but I am sure there is a much simpler solution out there, and nobody seems to be looking for it.
Wouldn’t it be great if our elected representatives suddenly decided to do what is right for the country, instead of what is right for their reelection? Dream on, Glenn.

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