Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Is the single payer issue dead?

The tide of public opinion about our nation’s health care woes has taken a sharp turn over the past two months. The movement to blame commercial health insurance – as exemplified in Michael Moore’s “Sicko” movie - has lost wind. While the health care problems remain exactly the same as before, fewer people are willing to blame health insurance companies. We still pay way too much for health care for less than ideal care. The prognosis remains that the problem will get worse before it gets better. But apparently we are beginning to realize that commercial health insurance system is more likely to be part of the solution rather than the root cause of the problem.

Support for an open market commercial competition in the health care business has increased. Most of the current legislative proposals for health care reform on a national and state level now incorporate the use of private health insurance companies.

Those who endorse a government controlled single payer health care system are outraged. Socialist-minded reformers have noticed the change and express frustration in many online publications this week. Some Americans hope for a single payer government-controlled health care system. One blogger titled his column “What’s Going On?” and expressed disgust with the sudden trend toward his state politician’s recent endorsement of commercial health insurance solutions. Another lawmaker in Oklahoma defended himself from attacks by health care reformers by taking a hard stance that proposed measures to expand coverage would simply be too expensive to justify the support of his constituents. On a national level, McCain’s health care proposals, previously regarded are tired and boring, are applauded by mainstream media this week.

So why are we seeing this sudden change in direction? Much of the change in attitude is attributable to the explosion of myths surrounding commercial health insurance. Three of the most popular myths about commercial health insurance companies are:
1 - The profits of health insurance companies boost our overall health care costs.
2 - Private insurance is more expensive than public insurance.
3- Commercial insurance practices are not in the public interest.

See http://www.slate.com/id/2190273/ We will likely see much more on this topic.

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