Ding dong, Statists' Union calling... 'Health reform - right the wrongs!'

Insurance companies that seem to serve almost singly as investment companies rather than a health care coverage company certainly tick me off. But what's better is what I would like to see, not what's easily likely to be MUCH WORSE. 

Name one operation of the government that saves any money for anyone, except in the coffers of those earning money from the operation. We taxpayers bought GM: what did you get out of that? I got nothing, thanks.

Government, as I've heard said quite a few times recently, is not in the business of giving up money: it is in the business of taking it. Medicare is struggling, the Post Office is struggling, Democrats can't even get along with themselves, the CRA program killed the fair market in real estate -- fair to people who actually could pay a mortgage, I mean! -- crooked dealings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac embarrassed even legitimate criminals, but we should count on government to do right by us in health care? 

Judging from the email (far below), Consumers Union does trust government above the free markets, to not just control markets reasonably through regulation, but to snarl the health industries in their greedy, poorly budgeting, non-consumer-oriented grip. Or so it would appear. You be the judge.

I, for one, was a bit ticked off about this group's eager part in pushing omnivorous governmental "regulation" (read: effective taking-over) of health care in the States. This, just below, is the reply I gave to the Consumers Union "alert" email, farther below, regarding health reform.

My Rant to CU's Kathy Mitchell

Dear Kathy Mitchell:

For goodness and good sense sake, how is government blatantly maneuvering to control the free market going to help us? We need regulatory reform, control, YES, CONTROL, of these big insurance companies, but not a statist approach to controlling huge chunk of the economy. This message sends another message -- that you are eager to head down the path of government control of a major portion of our economy. That is, it is far to say, not what this country's wealth is built on. Without needing to point out to me that it is also built on the backs of poorly paid workers, and slaves, etc., give me a current reason for why the free market will fail us, but the government will not?

Why do YOU trust government in this broad matter (not merely health cost coverage), but not markets? Of all the interest groups in this fight, I would have thought you'd have had an issue with vigorous state-run economic efforts that are being brazenly shoved at us, only slowed by those you badge as the enemy of progress. It is not the free market that brings all types of innovation, including to medicine? How is this bill upholding that hope for the future?

WE NEED CHANGE. I AGREE. Not whatever change suits the characters in support of big-government, let-the-state-solve-all-our-problems, ideas. We need changes that affect how the market and regulation affects our health industries -- insurance, medical tech, hospitals, doctors, drugs, etc. -- not the unions of government workers and such getting all that they want at the cost of those of us who are not in unions, or interested in government abusing us over the free market abusing us. Neither is appealing. We need the government to do their REAL job -- regulating, supporting advances (with our tax dollars going to innovative businesses) in the best interest of the PEOPLE, and the markets to do their jobs -- innovating, creating jobs, paying taxes (which are costs handed to consumers: so, allowing employees and consumers to afford to live and pay their taxes).

This bill, if anyone has actually managed to read it in its most recent morphing to allay legitimate concerns, is not right. They wanted to cram it in our faces in August, you'll remember, and resistance, if nothing else, has forced those not intrinsically meant to benefit through money or power to actually have to address REAL concerns.

If this is the best that Consumers Union can do for the public, then you are suspected of an embarrassingly non-consumer-oriented statist leaning, by me, and likely an awful lot of other folks, who once held up the group as an apolitical consumer group, generally reliable and unbiased. Not so much, anymore.


The CU Action Fund email

On Dec 15, 2009, Consumers Union Action Fund wrote:

Consumers Union Action Fund

650,000 could lose coverage so Aetna investors can enjoy higher returns. That's not how it should work. Help us end the stalemate and get a bill out of the Senate.
Give just $5 right now--for a holiday victory that can improve our lives forever.
Dear Xxxxxx,
You can't put a price on good health. But one of the nation's largest health insurance companies just did.

Aetna – which is on track to make $1 billion this year – says it will raise customers' premiums in order to make even more profit. The company expects the price hike to force as many as 650,000 people to lose their insurance – the equivalent of the residents of cities like Denver, Boston, Seattle or Baltimore losing their coverage at once.
Meanwhile, health reform opponents say our insurance markets are 'working' just great, and they're doing everything they can to kill prospects for real change this week. But when an insurance CEO is willing to cut hundreds of thousands of Americans' health coverage to make even more profit, is our health insurance market really working for us?
We don't have a billion dollars, but we have hundreds of thousands of people like you.

Your $5 contributions in the fall got a TV ad on the air in key states--one that put Consumer Reports' trusted name behind the effort to finally pass reform now. The ad is still running, and we want to keep it running.
We're joining forces with the American Cancer Society, AARP and other consumer groups to focus the media on the real story: Americans are losing coverage and facing huge rate increases while the industry lobbies against the changes that will help the most. Consumers Union is also knocking on doors in holdout Senators' states to generate calls and letters from constituents demanding they stand up for American families and take on the insurance giants.
All these things cost money. We're asking people in every state to pitch in so we can open minds and hearts in the states where lawmakers are on the fence.
While the Senate bill isn't perfect, it rights a lot of wrongs. Companies would have to spend the bulk of your insurance premium on your health care -- or else rebate you the difference. They could no longer deny you coverage, drop you if you get sick, or charge you ridiculous out-of-pocket costs for treatment. After a Senate bill passes, we're going to push to get the best of both Senate and House measures into a final reform package.
Whatever you can give will help us fight for you.  We are the closest we've been in history to getting all Americans affordable, reliable health care. Take reform across the finish line!
Kathy Mitchell
Consumers Union Action Fund, Inc.
506 W. 14th Street, Suite A
Austin, TX 78701

- jR, aka AirFarceOne (twitter)
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