Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Crux

As many commentators have remarked, the health care systems of the rest of the industrialized world have little in common except for the fact they each and every one of them is better than ours. The debate about health care isn’t, or shouldn’t be, yet another argument between the virtues of socialism or capitalism, public or private. Things are really simpler than that. The issue is whether one particular industry, the health insurers, will be allowed to go on siphoning off 5% of American GNP. The insurers understand what’s at stake perfectly. What matters isn’t public options or cooperatives or single payer insurance schemes. If we’re ever going to have a decent system, the insurance companies simply have to go or at least change their business model beyond recognition so that instead of making money by denying care, they make money by supplying it. Small wonder then if no American politician or journalist goes unbribed in the next couple of months. People fight harder for their privileges than for their rights, and few privileges are so succulent as the license to steal currently enjoyed by the insurance industry.