Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Follow The Bribery: Health Insurance Industry Moves To Block Reform At State Level

The fact that there will neither be a public option nor a Medicare expansion does not satisfy the health insurance industry. Any reform to them is unacceptable. Naturally, they couch their objections in terms of "liberty" and "freedom"; in reality, it is all about legislation that cuts into their profits. Realizing that health care reform will be signed into law on the federal level, the industry is concentrating on blocking changes within the states, including Florida:

Like about a dozen other states, Florida is debating a proposed amendment to its state constitution that would try to block, at least symbolically, much of the proposed federal health care overhaul on the grounds that it tramples individual liberty.

If health care reform enables 30 million people to gain health insurance, will they feel that their "liberty" has been "trampled"? Just how much "liberty" do the uninsured feel they have? Do they feel at liberty to get sick? If so, why are nearly 45,000 annual deaths linked to a lack of health insurance, according to a Harvard University study, "Health Insurance and Mortality in U.S. Adults"?

Naturally, those proposing that states be allowed to "opt out" of health reform aren't just united by their concern for "freedom":

But what unites the proposal’s legislative backers is more than ideology. Its 42 co-sponsors, all Republicans, were almost all recipients of outsized campaign contributions from major health care interests, a total of about $765,000 in 2008, according to a new study by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonpartisan group based in Helena, Mont.

We're used to the words "campaign contributions." We don't use the more accurate term: "bribery." Without adequate campaign finance reform, politicians will continue to be blatantly paid off to serve the interests of their "contributors," not those, for example, who desperately need health care. As the fight moves to the state level, the health care debate continues to expose this essential corruption of our political system.

Cartoon: Tony Auth, Universal Press Syndicate

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