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Why Republicans Should Love the Public Healthcare Option

March 13, 2010

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.

Thank you.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2010 10:31 pm

    As long as they didn’t come up with the idea, they won’t support it. Also, if there is competition with corporate health care providers, they lose their monopoly, and have to play fair to convince people they are the best. (instead of 37t) As to the deficit, well yes, it does cost money to do things. Funny how they realize that now, when an actual question relating to the well-being of Americans comes up, rather than when they spent all (and then some) of OUR money on a completely mismanaged (and unjust) war. Their new-found foresight seems to be better than their hindsight. (willful blindness anyone???) The Republican party wants this to be Obama’s Waterloo, because they can’t afford him to Wellington. If they are seen to be less effective than Democrats, (quite a feat) they may even lose some of their base. Republicans are unwilling to abandon the “trickle down” plan they’ve bitched about for a hundred years, because if the big businesses that support them don’t get money by the garbage-truck load, they can’t keep their congressional pets in Mc-mansions. Who has ever thought of the Republicans as the party of reason? Maybe the party of NO. (Reason) They just don’t have time for intelligent ideas.

  2. March 14, 2010 1:21 pm

    Well said, TK. Personally, I don’t think either party is the party of reason, but the Republicans have really been making jackasses out of themselves since Obama won the presidency. I think you’re right that they’d do anything to see Obama fail, even if it harms the country. They’re so partisan that, for them, politics has become an “us vs. them” game instead of a means to serve the needs of the people who elected them. Of course, it helps that the Republicans can look to the tea-baggers in the cheerleading section and convince themselves that their faction represent the “real” America.

  3. March 14, 2010 4:48 pm

    “The greatest good for the greatest number.” Cover story of Business Week issue on how a married couple decided to fight the good fight on the husband’s terminal illness. $618,000 spent over 17 months to his departure from our world. I am sure that value of life when measured by the government program will not allow this option. Probably at your stage of life (as measured by potential income tax contributions of your life expectancy) you and I will qualify for $100,000 in health care. The greatest number of under insured and uninsured will be sucking up a lot of tax money, so not much surplus for our paying members benefits of healt coverage.
    Of course the best part, is that we will not be denied treatment. The medical facility and staff will be denied full payment under guidelines designed for the greatest good for the greatest number.

    • March 14, 2010 5:06 pm

      Which is why stronger regulation of healthcare providers is also needed. It shouldn’t cost that much. Look at all the people who are uninsured that use the ER as a doctor’s office, and can’t pay either.

      • March 14, 2010 5:11 pm

        We are all going to die. Some illness can’t be cured, controled, or kept benign. Why even undergo 17 months of experimental drugs, radiation treatment, etc? Cigars, whiskey, and a trip to Las Vegas is a better remedy.
        All we have to do is watch how well the H1N1 debacle was handled by our government! I will seek treatment by the gypsy lady, and infomercials on herbal rememdies. Of course medical marijuana and presecribed narcotics like our President B.O. favors will make our passing a neat trip.

      • March 14, 2010 10:40 pm

        But what about curable illness? Why should people die because they don’t have money?

  4. March 14, 2010 5:07 pm

    Look new color! Goodbye pink!

    • March 15, 2010 12:00 pm

      Congrats on the color change, TK. I know that pink icon was a thorn in your side!

      Anyway, back to healthcare: I think we need to find a happy medium between excessive care and no care. If the medical establishment could conduct its craft without fear of unreasonable malpractice lawsuits, two good things would happen: 1) basic medical costs would come down because MDs would no longer have to pay $100,000+ annually for malpractice insurance, and 2) we wouldn’t need the profusion of medical tests that doctors currently favor because they live in fear of malpractice suits. As a result, insurance premiums would also come down and more of us would be able to afford them. If we opt for a public option (which I hope we do), the government would be able to offer it at a lower cost.

      Conclusion: we need tort reform now!

  5. March 18, 2010 3:01 pm

    Couple of thoughts on points:

    1) This just shifts these costs from one pocket to another — out of insurers, and onto the taxpayers. It seems the same group of people pay both ways… but at least insurance is optional.

    2) See #1

    3) Most companies DO NOT have to offer health insurance to employees. This is actually a result of the free market at work. In most cases, they do this as a benefit in order to attract and retain employees. There are few states that require employer-sponsored care, yet the big companies there offer not only group plans, but in most cases pay a major portion of the cost.

    Better options:

    + Seal the borders, and deport illegal aliens. They don’t pay for their healthcare, others do. This will help either reduce the taxpayer burden, or reduce costs.
    + Enact meaningful and reasonable tort reform. This allows doctors to reduce their liability premiums, and also reduces barriers to market entry.
    + Allow cross-border (states) competition. This will allow people to shop their carriers, and force carriers to be more competitive with rates/service. When people shop around, the prices miraculously start to drop.
    + Expand HSA allowances thereby making it reasonable that people can actually pay out of these accounts, and skip insurance altogether. In this, again, competition would make insurers have to offer better pricing, service, or other perks.
    + Repeal laws mandating employer-paid premiums. These unduly hurt small business, and drive up the premiums (look to MA for examples). Employers are competitive for employees, and will offer benefits (notice the term BENEFITS) to out-compete their competitors for new talent.

    Bottom line, people from single-payer systems usually come to the US for treatments, rarely is it the other way around.

    • March 18, 2010 11:31 pm

      Your observations and your suggestions show better insight into the reality of our complex combination of complications compounded by convoluted congressional codgers and curmedgeons. My alliteration is courtesy of Spiro Agnew. You have my complete support on HSA. If you are spending money in your account, then you are more careful on checking your invoice, and confirming the cost of any procedure.

  6. valdobiade permalink
    March 18, 2010 6:14 pm

    Says LOUDelf: “Better options:”

    When did actually the US of A health care reforms started to get our attention and why do we have to come up *now* with “better options”? Had we have to wait until the economy goes bankrupt because of greed?

    Also says LOUDelf: “Most companies DO NOT have to offer health insurance to employees. This is actually a result of the free market at work.”

    “Free market”??? by not offering health insurance? So it is true that healtcare now is actually for profit not for the health of Americans. If I say that health care for every American citizen is a right not a privilege, then I am a communist?

    • March 18, 2010 6:56 pm

      “When did actually the US of A health care reforms started to get our attention and why do we have to come up *now* with “better options”?” — This has been a problem for years, but instead of fixing many of the simple problems, many on the left want to insert more government. You never want the same organization that oversees others to suddenly be involved in services. Just look at the USPS, Medicare, or SS — all horribly run, and running in the red. If you want to see a quick bankruptcy, watch what happens when the government runs things!

      “Free market”??? by not offering health insurance? ” — I actually said the opposite. The free market has dictated to these companies that if they want to get the best employees, they HAVE to have health insurance.

  7. valdobiade permalink
    March 19, 2010 11:58 am

    “Just look at the USPS, Medicare, or SS — all horribly run”, loudelf you forgot to name Defense Dept. It is also a government controlled department. Don’t you think that this department should be privatized to run better?

    “Free Market” also include not giving medical insurance, still keep the best employees who want to risk their health.

    Car insurance was not mandatory a while ago, then the government forced me to pay insurance to private insurance. I don’t want to pay to private insurance for they are ripping me off. If the government is forcing me to have insurance, why don’t the government control the auto insurance. Everybody will have it at a lower price. The same thing with the health care.

    • March 19, 2010 4:59 pm

      “Don’t you think that this department should be privatized to run better?” — The government needs to be in the business of protecting safety, property, and liberty, nothing more. As national safety is covered by the military, no, it should not be privatized.

      ““Free Market” also include not giving medical insurance, still keep the best employees who want to risk their health.” — I guess you misunderstand. Companies offer benefits of all sorts, from vacation, to vehicles, etc in order to attract and retain employees. Health insurance is just one more benefit. Remember, you don’t need health insurance to have healthcare.

      “Car insurance was not mandatory a while ago, then the government forced me to pay insurance to private insurance. ” — and look at your rates. When anything is mandated or becomes entitlement, the prices will shoot up as the market has been altered from a free state.

      “If the government is forcing me to have insurance, why don’t the government control the auto insurance. Everybody will have it at a lower price. ” Government doesn’t do things at lower prices. Not at equal quality. This is where theory and reality clash. Work in or around government for a while, it will bear out quite easily that private industry will do things for lower cost and better final product as they are incentivized to innovate or get trampled by competition. If the government, who oversees businesses through regulation, offers services, it’s a conflict of interest. Additionally, as we’ve seen in my examples, it just can’t do as good a job.

      What this system needs is some tweaks, not drastic government involvement. That will spell doom.

      • March 20, 2010 1:25 am

        Guys: See my latest blog post — I continue the discussion you started here.

      • March 20, 2010 1:29 am

        I don’t think that means we shouldn’t have the option of going goverrnment. Just becausen the government offers something doesn’t mean averyone will rush to get it, companies could still try to attract better workers by offering undoubtedly higher quality private plans. That said, I am against having the government force people to buy insurance. That particular idea has no redeeming qualities, it would just drive people to existing insurance providers. We should implement those tweaks LOUDelf was talking about, and still offer some sort of government funded insurace for those who absolutley cannot afford it. I think healthcare is part of the General Welfare and Safety that should be afforded to citizens. Plus, if the government does getr into the insurance business, it’d be in their interests to get people off government support, providing the incentive Congress needs to (get off its lazy ass) pass all those reforms.

  8. March 23, 2010 4:08 am

    “still offer some sort of government funded insurace for those who absolutley cannot afford it.”

    We already have this — Medicaid. There are a lot of people who qualify, but don’t know it. We should work to get them on it if they need healthcare.

  9. March 23, 2010 9:31 am

    @ LOUDelf, Would you want to go to a doctor that accepts Medicaid? I’ve known people who’ve stayed home rather than go to Medicaid doctors and dentists.

    • March 26, 2010 7:18 pm

      Moderates and other socialist wolves in sheeps clothing like the principle of healthcare for everyone. The fact is the delivery system will create greater discrimination between cash only clinics vs Medicaid discount quality care. The President will then go on a crusade to promise equal quality treatment, while congress and the President have their 24/7 personal medical attention. In victory for the Chicago Democrat mob, we will lose more lives. How about Senator Murtha getting his bowel cut open to die from his own bile? That was their version of superior service.

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  1. Some Reasons Why Republicans Should Support the Public Health Option « Center Majority™ Blog

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