Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A gap in GOP candidates' healthcare proposals

Giuliani, McCain and Thompson are offering plans to help the uninsured -- but their aversion to regulations would mean that many of their fellow cancer survivors would be left out.

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 20, 2007

WASHINGTON -- When Rudolph W. Giuliani was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the spring of 2000, one thing he did not have to worry about was a lack of medical insurance.

Today, the former New York mayor joins two other cancer survivors in seeking the Republican presidential nomination: Arizona Sen. John McCain has been treated for melanoma, the most serious type of skin malignancy, and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson had lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.

All three have offered proposals with the stated aim of helping the 47 million people in the U.S. who have no health insurance, including those with preexisting medical conditions.

But under the plans all three have put forward, cancer survivors such as themselves could not be sure of getting coverage -- especially if they were not already covered by a government or job-related plan and had to seek insurance as individuals.

"Unless it's in a state that has very strong consumer protections, they would likely be denied coverage," said economist Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, who has reviewed the candidates' proposals. "People with preexisting conditions would not be able to get coverage or would not be able to afford it."

If the arguments against the Democratic presidential candidates' healthcare plans include higher taxes and greater government involvement, then the Achilles' heel of the GOP plans is their dependence on the private market, which often rejects applicants with health problems.

Republicans want to expand the existing private insurance system, offering new tax breaks as a way of helping people buy insurance individually. But they also want to avoid federal regulation that would tell insurers whom they have to cover and how much they may charge.

... after the click .. in the LA Times.

My Comment:

OK ... the long and the short of it is that the Republican Family Values Party values corporations over families and profits over people. It's more important that corporations make profit than it is for the citizens of the richest country on the planet to have health care insurance. (It might have something to do with the fact that corporations tend to make bigger political donations than individual people .... but that's only a guess.) It's OK if you or your son or your daughter or your wife or your husband is left out because they suffered come illness that left them with what is called in th insurance industry a "preexisting condition". You've been sick before? Well, that makes you a risk to the company profitability. They're willing to take your premiums but they're reluctant to pay on a claim. That's why the insurance industry is one of the most profitable industries on the planet ... and one of the industries with the most lobbyists ... all of whom are extremely well paid.

Republicans don't want government regulation. They're against anything that might effect business profits. What they've forgotten is that the government in this country; in OUR democracy, is WE THE PEOPLE. When the government regulates, it is WE THE PEOPLE, through our elected representatives, protecting ourselves from corporate power ... at least that's the way it's supposed to work. It is WE THE PEOPLE saying to corporations that they have to function within certain rules, regulations and guidelines if they want to profit from US.

Republicans label universal single payer health care as socialistic as a way of ending the conversation.

Socialism is simply when people get together for their common good (see my bit about volunteer fire departments). Unfortunately, that's not always friendly toward corporations. Republicans don't want people to come together. They've obtained and held power for the last decade and a half by dividing people. They are the masters of the "wedge issue". In the end, Republicans side with corporations against people (forgetting that they're people, themselves!). They take the Marie Antoinette position: "Let them eat cake."

Footnote: Did I ever mention that, for a time in the early '90s, I was a licensed insurance sales person? Not only was I licensed to sell life insurance, health insurance and property & casualty insurance - I also had an NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) license that allowed me to sell variable policies that were tied to the equities market, annuities and other securities based products. I only mention that to counter any thought that maybe I'm just talking through me hat.

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