Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Public Insurance Option Discussion on Facebook

My cousin posted a link on her Facebook page to Free Our Health Care Now’s online petition.

I, of course and maybe stupidly, made a comment.

I posted. “I'd love a public option I could buy into that wasn't tied to a job. Most people change jobs frequently it doesn't make sense to have to change insurance every time.

But more importantly I'm not comfortable with the status quo -- health care rationing based on income.”

My cousin responded, “I'm personally not comfortable paying more money to the government. There is an entitlement attitude in our country that says we all deserve to be secure and safe, to have this and to have that. However, going around the free market isn't, in my opinion, the way to insure everyone's well-being or to solve the health care crisis. Why are we marching on Washington to solve our health care crisis? Why don't we march on our insurance companies?

As citizens of this country, we need to get back to basic principles of responsibility, hard work, honesty and sacrifice, and to quit expecting the government to solve our problems. Show me when the government has been successful in taking good care of the masses. Welfare? Social Security? Medicare? Yikes!

I say we need to not take away incentive for people to be productive, successful members of society. The more money we give to the government through taxes, the less choice we have regarding what to do with our own hard-earned money.”

One of her friends added, “Very well put.”

I responded, “You have a great point about marching on insurance companies. That’s what we’re doing! We’re doing it through government because that is where much of our power lies.

But considering that the free market is responsible for the current economic crisis, the disappearance of the middle class in the US and for the insurance problems we have now I’m not inclined to let it try to “fix” health care. It’s already “fixed” it.

Medicare and VA recipients report higher satisfaction than people with private insurance. And evidence shows that public insurance is less expensive and provides comparable if not better insurance. (I'll put links on my page.)

The advantage of a public option is that the working poor who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, the people with pre-existing conditions, and people with crappy plans have affordable options.

I feel a moral obligation to help the needy. Private charity has failed. I’m happy to pay more in taxes to help.”

Here are the links I referenced.

My cousin friend added, “I have one question for you. How are we going to pay for it? I'm so happy that you are more that willing to pay more taxes. If you feel that it is a moral obligation and that private charity has failed then why not try to help private charities by giving your money to them instead. All the current government health programs are broke. If you think it is going to stop with taxing those who make over$ 250,000 a year you are wrong. In 1918 they started taking the top 1% of americans wealthy. By 1938 in was the top 5% by the time world war II was over it was the top 75%. Did you also know that if you choose to have your own insurance that you will be face countless penalties. . That doesn't sound like freedom to me. This is an absolute infringement on Freedom

P.S The power lies in the People, not the government.”

My cousin said, “I guess we see things a bit differently. I have to wonder where the funding comes from for these government-sponsored programs since we all know that money doesn't grow on trees. It comes out of the pockets of those who pay taxes, the wealthier segment of society. In other words, tax payers are being forced to pay charity in the form of welfare, medicare, etc. Like Eliza, I would rather have the option of what charities or organizations we give our hard-earned money to, rather than being forced by the government to fund causes we don't believe in. I believe in supporting good and charitable causes, in fact I do. However, I also believe that a person ought to have the right to choose not to as well. It's called free agency. If we are forced to do "good", it's no longer our choice and free agency is vanquished.

P.S. I don't believe it's the free market that has failed, it's the people who are greedy, irresponsible, and dishonest that has failed the system. Those same people are in government positions as well . . . in abundance.”

I posted, “This is an interesting discussion. I found a couple of links that explain what a public option is and some of its benefits. They should also clear up some of the misconceptions, such as the idea that it promotes euthanasia, or that there would be penalties for keeping private insurance.

I, as an insured person, already pay costs associated with the under or uninsured, those costs are passed on to me in the form of higher prices for services.

As for your taxes supporting programs you disagree with, well, that’s true for everyone.

Your P.S. would be equally true if you replaced free market with government. But I'll stop commenting now. Feel free to send me an email with any links you think I should read.”

I’m not going to add anything right now. We were limited because Facebook limits how long your comment can be and I had to cut off part of my comment.

And because I’m nice I took out ludicrous from my original sentence “such as the ludicrous idea that it promotes euthanasia . . .”

I shouldn't have brought up the whole private charity tangent. That's my issue. I'm sick of the right trying to wrap themselves up in religion and morality. I will never understand why abortion and gay rights are the only two moral issues that exist for them. I believe there are other equally important moral issues: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping the sick, combating racism .....

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