Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:45 pm
How many more uninsured Wisconsinites must die before our politicians get out of the pockets of the insurance industry and fix our health care crisis?
Sorry to be so blunt, but that is exactly what is happening today. Over $1.4 million per year in campaign contributions flows from the health care and insurance industries that want to keep the status quo. Inefficiency breeds profits, and they want the profits to continue.
Hundreds of thousands in campaign dollars come from the banking and credit card industries that benefit from health savings accounts – that incidentally are great for wealthy investors but terrible for patients and families in need of care. Worse, HSAs (health savings accounts) will ultimately help drive up health care costs as they keep patients away from care until it is more expensive to treat or becomes untreatable. Be careful of what you wish for.
A million more in campaign dollars from the bankruptcy attorneys that also like things just as they are, with over half of all bankruptcies involving exorbitant health care debt.
And all of this because campaign contributors are willing to share their profits with the politicians that make it all happen, and the pols that are willing to oblige. What a wonderful world.
Will it ever end?
Not just the deadly health care crisis, but also the political corruption that sustains it. When are politicians going to say enough is enough, and do what is right for the public?
A single-payer health care system would be a windfall for businesses, the state’s economy and our citizens. Perhaps the insurance companies will have to make their profits elsewhere, as will the bankruptcy attorneys, bankers and credit card companies. But with a stronger Wisconsin economy there will be plenty of opportunity for that.
We now have three health care proposals, all designed to satisfy a certain constituency. But only one is aimed toward all citizens and away from the insurance bureaucracy that is consuming 31 percent of health care dollars without ever spending a penny on direct health care.
Sometimes you have to spend money to make money, and that’s exactly what Sen. Mark Miller (D-Monona) and Rep. Chuck Benedict (D-Beloit) do with the Health Security Act (SB51/AB94). A small additional payroll tax for employers eliminates the 10 to 15 percent they currently spend on health care benefits, and a small additional payroll tax for employees eliminates costs of co-pays, deductibles, dental, vision, and scores of other expenses.
This should be called the Improved Medicare-For-All system, because it’s modeled after Medicare, the only part of our health care system that does function efficiently. Yes, Medicare currently costs more per capita, because it covers almost exclusively seniors and end-of-lifers. But fold in the younger, healthier population and the average becomes lower than our current system. U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ proposed HR676 at the federal level does the same.
If you are hung up over the government’s involvement, get over it. There are some things best left to the government to fund. Fire and police protection, building public roads, and funding health care are just a few. Political campaigns are another, but that’s a story for a different day.
Or maybe not. If you pay taxes you experience on a daily basis the costs of privately funded campaigns. Outrageous health care is just one of them.
Where are the non-healthcare business leaders on this? Many with their heads in the sand. They are trying to reduce costs in this so-called "free market" system, all while turning their heads when their fellow healthcare businesses pick their pocket. Their business associations that claim both as members, are siding with the insurers and actually selling their insurance to members.
Where’s Business Ethics 101 when you really need it?
Jack Lohman is a retired business owner from Colgate and operates for www.ThrowTheRascalOut.org. He authored "Politicians – Owned and Operated by Corporate America" and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.