Oct 28, 2013
When it comes to assigning blame for the fiasco that is the sign-up process for health care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), fingers are pointing in every direction.
Right-wing Republican politicians did everything in their power to block the ACA legislation, and are now pointing at the Obama administration. That doesn’t mean they are proposing a more efficient way to deliver health care to the population. Not at all! They would rather chew their feet off than allow any type of national health care to be established.
Democrats are saying it’s only a question of computer system “glitches.” “Glitches?” Millions of Americans have accessed the sign-up sites, only to come away with no result.
In the beginning, the crash was blamed on the numbers of people applying for health care; millions of applicants were totally unexpected. How can that be? Everyone knows there are many millions uninsured. The numbers trying to sign up show how many people must be in dire need of health care today.
Why can’t this new system serve them? Because the whole design of the program was engineered by the big insurance concerns like Blue Cross Blue Shield nationwide. With 150 insurance companies competing for every penny, a disaster was in the forecast.
Instead of allowing people to access the HealthCare.gov website for comparison-shopping of insurance plans, people were forced to create an application and provide basic information to set up an account. From this point forward, there were a multitude of links that had to be made by the system to verify applicant information regarding previous insurance, health care, citizenship, legal residence, dual enrollment in other government programs, tax payment… the list goes on and on.
No wonder the system went crashing down. But how ridiculous is this? All over the world, dozens of countries big and small have succeeded in providing health care to their populations. Yes, there are problems with this care, especially as profit begins to extend its hold on those systems. But they provide health care all the same.
In fact, the U.S. government already runs one of the most efficient, low-cost health delivery systems in the world, and that is the Medicare system.
Why didn’t the government copy this system, set up exactly the same kind of system, adding the previously uninsured to it? Why didn’t the government simply pass laws that barred the exclusion of individuals with preexisting conditions or impose limits on the out of pocket expenses of individuals? After all, it is this same agency, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is responsible for the administration of the new system.
No, none of this was done because the ACA was set up to satisfy, first and foremost, the demands and needs of the big insurance companies and the health care corporations, not the health care needs of the population.
It is this catering to the huge financial institutions and Wall Street that have created such a mess for what was supposed to be a way to insure the larger population at risk.
Leaving the insurance companies and the health care corporations in charge of a national health care system is like leaving the foxes in charge of the henhouse. We won’t get much care, and the foxes will run away with the golden egg! And we haven’t even gotten to the part yet where we find out just how much these health care packages will really cost us and what they will and won’t cover!
We need a system that guarantees basic, affordable care to every man, woman and child in this country – a system from which the drive for profit has been wrenched out.