Why Republicans Should Love the Public Healthcare Option
I suspect that a fair number of Americans, not all of whom are socialists, believe that nobody in this country should have to go bankrupt because of illness. Let me confess, without shame, that I belong to this marginalized crowd.
Our mission, as believers in an unpopular but righteous cause, is to convince Republicans and other balking conservatives that the public healthcare option represents “the greatest good for the greatest number.” In other words, it serves the interests of the American people in general, and Republicans in particular.
I’m not a socialist or even a registered Democrat, so I can understand why Republicans have been butting heads with proponents of public healthcare: 1) the public option could propel the federal deficit even further into the stratosphere, unless 2) the government hikes taxes on the wealthy. (What is this, Sweden?) Furthermore, 3) why should healthy, sober Republicans subsidize the self-destructive lifestyles of trailer trash, drug-addled urbanites, the obese, the indigent, the lazy, the alcoholic and nicotine-addicted slugs who swell the ranks of the hospital population and require massive medical interventions to save them from a premature demise? I can sympathize, at least superficially, with their apprehensions.
But I’m surprised that nobody has touted the very real Republican-friendly features of public healthcare. I believe, with some sincerity, that the public option serves the interests of private enterprise as admirably as it meets the needs of the people. In fact, the aforementioned objections to public heathcare pale in comparison to its benefits for Republican and conservative Americans.
1. Private health insurance companies won’t have to take costly risks on self-destructive losers. That’s right: the public option relieves private insurers of any obligation to fund the hefty healthcare costs of the Darwinian rejects mentioned above. Why, after all, should insurers be forced to lose money betting that all those obese chain-smoking alcoholics will breeze into their eighties and beyond without racking up staggering medical bills? It’s just not decent to expect private HMOs and insurance companies to foot the bill for those sickly specimens. Republicans should be only too happy to let the government (i.e., the people) pay for their own excesses, indiscretions and cardiovascular accidents.
2. Self-employed capitalists will no longer have to pay through the nose for private insurance. Take heed, conservatives: the public option means lower insurance premiums for the self-employed. After all, who are the self-employed if not the driving engine of the capitalist system? When you free these enterprising souls from monstrous private insurance premiums (and they are monstrous for the self-employed), you free them to plow their capital back into the system: hiring employees and creating products and services that some of us actually need. The public option is good for budding capitalists.
3. Big companies will no longer be obligated to foot the bill for employee health coverage. How can any responsible Republican be opposed to this one? After all, the current private insurance system places a grossly unfair burden upon American corporations. Why should companies be forced to shell out millions of dollars annually to pay the health insurance premiums of their employees? You have to wonder how corporate America ever acquiesced to this outrageous imposition. Employees and their entitlements: it’s just gimme, gimme, gimme! Republicans respect the power of individualists, and true individualists are accountable: they pay their own way. Once we relieve corporations of their mandatory insurance burdens, their profits will soar and the stock market might even rebound to levels last seen before the Crash of 2000. The public option is beneficial to companies and shareholders alike.
There you have it: three solid arguments in favor of the public option — from a Republican perspective. So why all the stonewalling and obstructionism, gentlemen of the Right? Could it be that, when push comes to shove, you really believe that companies owe their employees cushy health benefits… that hardworking, self-employed entrepreneurs should be penalized for their ambition with staggering insurance premiums… even that private insurance companies need to shell out for the costly medical bills of tubby, lethargic losers with cigarette-blackened lungs and enlarged hearts?
Think about it, gentlemen… you’re starting to sound like the flaming leftists you pretend to despise. Vote for the public option, and keep our private insurance system as a selective bastion of affluent, low-risk individuals who can afford “boutique” plans. By removing high-risk losers from the private insurance rolls, helping budding entrepreneurs gain access to low-cost public insurance and discarding unmerited employee entitlements, you’ll be keeping the system as healthy as those slim vegetarian joggers who listen to NPR and shop at Whole Foods. Well, maybe that was the wrong example. But I’m sure you understand.