Government-provided health insurance


I was just reading a story in the New York Times how Republican lawmakers are universally against Barack Obama’s plans for a government-run health insurance.

Personally, I find this laughable.

I am a self-employed journalist with a wife and two kids. The absolute best deal I was able to find for health coverage came via the Freelancers Union, to which I pay approximately $1,200 per month. My expensive coverage includes a $30 co-pay to a general phsyician and a $50 co-pay to any specialists. It goes without saying that I have a very high deductible; that prescriptions cost an arm and a leg (I know … I know—cliche); that you never know who’s going to accept your insurance and who won’t.

Hence, my message to the Republicans: Go f^%$ yourselves.

Sorry for the crassness, but I mean it. I really mean it. I am so sick and tired of hearing Republicans compare Obama’s plan to socialism; of lines like, “If the government runs health insurance, it’ll ruin … everything!!!!!”

First off, the amount of money the health insurers are donating to politicians—especially the Republicans—is astronomical. The stance isn’t one of principle, but of finances. Republicans are backing key donors, period. Second, American senators and congressmen receive fantastic health benefits. Of course they think the current system is great—for them, it is.

For Jeff Pearlman and millions of other Americans, however, it’s a nightmare. I know people who simply can’t afford health care; who go without and, when disaster strikes, show up at the hospital and give a fake name. Yes, it’s dishonest and wrong and unethical. But do ethics count when health insurers have priced many of us out of the one thing we need most—medical stability? No.

8 thoughts on “Government-provided health insurance”

  1. Count me as another freelance writer who pays for her own insurance. I’m not eligible for the Freelancer Union plan (I live in Southern NJ), so I pay my own arm and leg for coverage, and it still takes forever to be seen by a specialist. I’m going on two months to get to a dermatologist to have a cyst removed (I’m sure if I called for Botox — a cash business — I’d be seen much quicker, but regular ol’ patients don’t bring in the big bucks).

    I try to be upbeat about the situation and hope that change is coming, but I nearly quit freelancing because of the cost of health insurance. And then my cousin was recently laid off and lacerated his kidney while bike riding. The hospital refuses to take it out because he’s uninsured, so they keep waiting for it to heal on its own (he’s on week three in the hospital).

    It’s a ridiculous situation, and those who live it know it. Harshest critics I’ve found? People who are covered by their employer (I’ve been told many times by my family that it’s the price I pay to be freelance).

    This whole argument that we’ll have to wait in line to get doctors, and the quality of our care will drop…I’m already in a long line, and have to go to whoever will see me — and I’m covered. With 62 percent of bankruptcies the direct result of medical bills? And many of those for people who are insured? Yeah, they can go #$(& themselves.

  2. Totally agree. If the Elephants want to talk about Socialism, then have them stop going to the Public Library. Stop getting assistance from the Police, fire departments, etc. Stop sending your kids to public schools. Stop mailing things through the post office. In essence, these and many other government entities are, indeed, socialistic.

  3. Jeff, you just outlined the biggest thing which would scare me if as a Canadian, I moved to the US. I can’t fathom paying $1,200 a month. Jésus, my take-home pay is only $1,400 Cdn. every two weeks.

    I’ll take having no family doctor to $1,200/month, thanks.

  4. You must not be looking very hard. I pay $307/month with Unicare for my wife and two kids.

    What makes you think that government-run health insurance would be any better run than the other failed/expensive government programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? And what makes you think that your true costs will decrease? You will still be paying for you own insurance, through taxes, as well as insurance for the welfare class.

    If you really can’t afford it, perhaps you should seek a job that provides insurance. Life is about choices. Or do you have an inalienable right to both whatever job suits you AND government-provided healthcare?

    To paraphrase you, “Hence, my message to you: Go f^%$ yourself.”

  5. Everyone does not have the “choice” of a job that provides health insurance. A society that denies access to health care has a pretty hard time calling itself civiilized. The lack of univeral health care actually costs us more because the primary benefit of cheap, easy access to medical attention is that we go to the doctor when we have a problem. We get it taken care of. Like an automobile, the human body works far better with preventative maintenence than it does if problems are left to fester, and like an automobile, when the human body does break down because of a lack of such maintenence it will be far more costly than if we’d just got the tires rotated and oil changed. Human beings don’t deserve plasma tvs, but they deserve a check up.

  6. the democrats have 59 senators and control of the house they don’t need republican support for it if they truly want it passed so how can anyone blame the republicans when the democrats run everything?

  7. The funny thing is that the Republicans (and Democrats who stand in the way of fixing our health insurance system) are claiming that the government won’t be able to provide a good enough health insurance for Americans at the same time they are claiming that the government will be able to provide unfair competition to private insurers by offering too good a health plan

    People in this country now have to struggle to survive until they are 65, when they are finally able to get Medicare, a government health plan that works.

    The reality is that the Canadian system works great at half the price. If they spent money on health care the way the US does, they’d be able to offer unlimited free plastic surgery to everyone.

    That being said, universal insurance will not bring us great savings. In the long run, universal health insurance will lead to significant improvements in worker productivity (which will lead to higher tax revenues at te same rates) once people realize they don’t have to stick to jobs they aren’t suited for for fear of losing their health insurance, but that won’t happen right away. We now have to deal with the fact that our health care system is completely out of whack. Medicine is not being practiced properly anymore in most of the country. Private insurers have managed to perform the amazing feat of driving overall medical costs up by trying to control the costs of individual procedures, and that genie is going to be a lot harder to put back in the bottle than it was to take out.

  8. Here’s why governments should never run something so big.

    Take money from people who earn it? Check.

    Give it to people who don’t?


    Sorry wealthy people don’t pay for your insurance. Maybee go work harder, become a better writer, or change fields. You being a writer is your choice. You like doing it. If you want insurance, go get another job.

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