Monday, August 17, 2009

Corporations Win, Public Loses in Healthcare Debate

Many see the heathcare debate as socialized versus privatized heathcare systems. But, no matter what side wins the American public loses. Both sides of the debate are controlled by big corporate interests, which are only interested in filling their own pockets and care nothing for the good of the American public. In fact, the U.S. health care system has already been partially socialized and partially private sector. Medicare has been providing socialized healthcare since 1965. There are also non-profit insurance providers who are closely connected to the government.

But, larger private sector insurance companies have become too powerful. A small handful of corporations control a large portion of the industry, ensuring a corporate monopoly on the healthcare industry. Corporate executives fill their pockets while millions of Americans are left without insurance or are left with inadequate coverage. Private insurance corporations also use large amounts of money to influence congress to vote for measures beneficial to maintaining this monopoly, which keeps healthcare costs and drug prices high. This has caused havoc for personal finances of many Americans. Fifty-five percent of personal bankruptcies are caused by medical debts or illness. Seventy-five percent of those people were insured, according to

So what is the answer to the private sector's monopoly over the healthcare system? Although he maybe willing to compromise on adding the public healthcare option, President Obama’s original proposed healthcare overhaul plan claims that more government sponsored healthcare and also stiff regulations on private insurers will increase competition and result in lower premiums and healthcare costs for consumers. Obama’s plan will tax the wealthy in order to pay for the increased burden on the government to pay for public healthcare. The estimated cost for the overhaul is $1 trillion over ten years. That equates to about $100 billion per year.

This may seem like a lot of money, however we are actually spending more than that per year on the War on Terror. In the proposed 2010 budget the White House is asking for $130 billion to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, there is no talk of diverting funds from these military endeavors to the healthcare system. The most Obama has done is divert funds from the war in Iraq to Afghanistan, therefore keeping money in the pockets of corporate military and defense contractors, such as Blackwater and Halliburton. These entities, like the private insurance and drug companies, are corporate entities with no duty to act in the best interests of the American people.

In fact, Obama has gone out of his way to protect corporate interests in his attempt to pass his bill for overhauling our healthcare system. Some may claim that Obama's plan will destroy the private corporate healthcare industry. But, he is actually protecting corporate entities from responsibility for corrupting our healthcare system in the first place. Obama promised to cap the total required amount the drug industry would be required to contribute to the overhaul to under $80 billion. Many Democrats in the House argue that this is too little. The drug industry was responsible for much of the chaos amidst the healthcare industry, yet Obama is still inclined to protect the big corporations who monopolize the drug industry to keep prices high for consumers. Many of the larger drug corporations pay smaller generic manufacturers to keep their product from reaching the marketplace, denying the public access to affordable medicine. Obama has struck a similar deal with the hospital industry as well.

Although opponents to Obama's plan fear that socialized medicine will destroy the private sector it is clear that the Administration still has the interests of wealthy corporate allies in mind, just like they did when they bailed out the financial sector and continued funding of the War on Terror. Whether it is healthcare, the economy or foreign policy the Administration continues to keep corporate interests ahead of the well-being of the American public.

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