Health Care: Karl Rove's Message of Fear

Health Care: Karl Rove's Message of Fear

I thought I would be sick when I saw this headline from the Wall Street Journal:
"How to Stop Socialized Health Care" by Karl Rove. Funny, I thought Bush's brain was long gone, either dead and buried, or stuck with a fork in it, but apparently it lives on.

The opinion piece starts off with a threat to put fear in the heart of conservative Americans: "If Democrats enact a public-option health-insurance program, America is on the way to becoming a European-style welfare state."

God forbid we should have a "socialized state" or universal health care. If you are like me, you more than likely fail to see the imminent dangers of providing health care coverage to everybody, regardless of income, if they are sick or in need of preventive care. Rove, however, provides us with a list of five reasons why to avoid universal health care.

"The first is it's unnecessary." The basic underlying premise behind Rove's first argument is that "robust private competition" will take care of it and that the 1,300 insurance companies provide "competition enough".

Enough for what? . According to this article, "Approximately 87 million people—one in three Americans—went without health insurance for some period during 2007 and 2008, while rising unemployment and job losses caused an estimated 14,000 people to lose their health insurance every day in December 2008 and January 2009 alone."

Is he only considering his own insurance needs when he makes this assessment?

"Second, a public option will undercut private insurers and pass the tab to taxpayers and health providers just as it does in existing government-run programs." Now, we start with the fear factor that Bush and his cronies are so famous for. The main thrust of this argument is that taxpayers will have to unwillingly foot the bill.

What is little understood by many Americans is that in some way, shape, or form, they are already footing the bill for some of the cost of the uninsured. In a study in 2005, this study found that "Roughly one-third [of the cost of health care for uninsured Americans] is reimbursed by a number of government programs, and two-thirds is paid through higher premiums for people with health insurance." The other third is paid for by the uninsured themselves, making Mr. Rove's argument more than a little specious.

Third, government-run health insurance would crater the private insurance market, forcing most Americans onto the government plan." In fact, Senator Conrad of North Dakota has proposed a compromise to address this issue.

" Conrad's plan attempts to satisfy both sides. Profit-making insurance companies wouldn't run the show, but there also wouldn't be the federal government backing that Republicans fear would eliminate fair competition with private companies. The co-ops could get federal seed money, Conrad said, but that would be the end of federal involvement. The co-ops would negotiate directly with medical providers."

Currently, there are several plans and ideas on the table regarding universal health care, so some people may have the option of staying on their current plans.

However, if we look to examples from Michael Moore's Sicko, it is easy to realize that many insurance companies provide sub-par care themselves. I personally do not see the problem with forcing them into accountability.

"Fourth, the public option is far too expensive." Mr. Rove gives the example of the cost of Medicare. The Obama administration is looking for ways to reduce the fat in the medical community that will not reduce patient care.

According to “Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that the United States invests more on health care than any country, but that its health care system ranks 37th.” Denver Post

Criticisms of the WHO's study include that the criteria include unrelated things like life expectancy. I fail to comprehend how life expectancy is a false criteria for evaluating the health care system of the country.

"Fifth, the public option puts government firmly in the middle of the relationship between patients and their doctors." Once again, Mr. Rove is playing the fear card here. He actually writes,"If you think insurance companies are bad, imagine what happens when the government is the insurance carrier..."

Again, the sub-par care available through HMO's in this country is not superior to the evil "socialized medicine" we hear about in other countries.