Sunday, June 21, 2009
The Times reports today that Americans strongly support it, as do I. It's incredible that it faces an uphill battle because industry lobbyists label it as unfair competition. It's particularly ironic because critics of such programs regularly contend that government-run health care won't work well, or provide adequate coverage. If that's the case, why not let the open market, which they so revere, work its magic?
The answer, of course, is that health care lobbyists value corporate profits far more than public health. That's bad for Americans, and it would be refreshing if part-time UFT President Randi Weingarten stood up against the conversion of Emblem Health (which insures most NYC employees) to "for-profit" status. Instead, Ms. Weingarten frets over what percentage of the IPO her patronage machine would get, and bamboozles us with talk of programs as ineffectual as the one NY Teacher labeled a "class size victory."
I happen to be among those satisfied with my health care, but I know how lucky I am. I've seen disastrous results for people under or uninsured, and next month I'm attending a wedding largely motivated by the fact that one partner needs better benefits. That shouldn't have to happen here, and catastrophic medical emergency ought not to be the number one cause of bankruptcy. That isn't the case in any other industrialized country, and there's no reason we should put up with it.
Everyone should be covered in the United States. If Barack Obama succeeds in getting this through, it will compensate in some measure for his abysmal and painfully uninformed approach to public education, which he never deemed good enough for his kids.