Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Short

Quick because I have to make dinner and I spent all afternoon taking the 212 bus to go watch pure light. (Note: also not a euphemism. Admission cost me $8.)

By my count, there are three reasons we make an industry public (i.e. give the government significant power over it). 1) when the thing the industry sells is absolutely necessary for survival and people who need it will pay any amount of money for it (i.e. water, perhaps electricity). 2) when the item or items it sells are a finite resource that has to be shared (water, roads + highways). 3) when the nature of the industry is such that a monopoly corporation in that industry would have too much control over the nation (defense, the post office).

Health insurance clearly fits all three categories: the vast majority of us rely at some point or another on some form of health care; we have come to the point where we realize that this is not an infinite resource that we can continue sinking 15% of our GDP into funding it; and increasing monopolization and control by large health insurance companies (Wellpoint, United, Blue Cross) has meant that they, not us, are setting national health policy.

The public option for national health insurance, because it would be operated by the government, would be more socialist than the current system. That's true. But no more socialist than our water system -- and you'll still be able to buy the bottled stuff if you want it.

EDIT: PS -- a veterans' organization is in the news today for defending their own socialized medicine against flat out lies by opponents of the public option (in this case Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele).

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