Their money or our lives?

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, July 29, 2009

To the editor:
It is time for the people and the media to stop allowing corporate talking points against meaningful health care reform to go unchallenged, as if they are just another viewpoint on just another issue. The current system is literally ruining us, all for the sake of preserving the $400 billion annual profits made by private health insurance companies.

Those companies and their agents in Congress – many of whom own huge stakes in these companies – are using the same false statements and fear tactics they have always used to deny us health care. In the meantime, millions of us are suffering and dying. This year, it is our duty and our imperative to hold them accountable by confronting them in front of the entire country.

When they repeat the talking point about publicly funded health care putting a bureaucrat between us and our doctors, as Senator Judd Gregg and others did this month, the media should ask them point blank:  why are you trying to deceive us? Private insurance is what stands between doctors and patients, denying needed care and dropping coverage. Tell Senator Gregg that this is what private insurance does, and ask why he is defending them. While you’re at it, ask him who gave him this false statement to repeat.

When they repeat the talking point that they oppose publicly funded health care because it “socializes medicine” – as Senator Jim Bunning and others did this month – confront them! Doctors and hospitals and medicine would remain in the private sector under any publicly funded health care system. Tell Senator Bunning that Americans demand accurate information, not more carefully crafted deception.

When they repeat the talking points about long lines and rationed care “like in Canada and England,” as Senator John McCain and others did this week – confront them! Those statements about Canada and England are false. Only in America do we wait for treatment while an insurance company decides our fate, often deciding to deny any care. The rationing is happening right here, right now. Ask Senator McCain why he serves Humana instead of humanity.

And when they try to scare us with what publicly funded health care will cost, as Senator Joe Lieberman and others did this week – tell them we’re already paying for it. We want our $400 billion a year to be spent on health care, not bonuses for insurance executives. We want health care now and forever. We want legislators to answer to the people of the United States, not shareholders of United Health Care. Health care is a fundamental right in a democracy.

I support a single payer, not for profit health care system. Medicare for everyone, with nobody left out. President Obama and many others are seeking to create a “public option” for health care that would compete with private insurance. Medicare-like option at an affordable cost for everyone who wants it. Both systems seek to correct the same essential wrongs: the uncontrollable greed of private insurance companies, and the diversion of our premiums to activities that deprive patients of health care. Those companies fund the deception, championed by Senators with vested interests.  We are the ones who must expose them now – at long last.

Robert Miller
Chair, Harbor Country Progress
Union Pier