REAL COMPETITION CAN STOP HEALTH INSURANCE GOUGING

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama is all for Congressional efforts to produce health care reform – as long as they don't contain any actual reform.

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama is all for Congressional efforts to produce health care reform – as long as they don’t contain any actual reform.

The senator gets fainting spells at the mere mention of Barack Obama’s proposals, gasping that they add up to socialized health care and would destroy “the best health care system the world has ever known.”

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The best? Maybe he meant the most expensive, for it surely is that. But the best? Hardly. The quality of our care ranks 37th in the world – only one notch better than Slovenia!

Perhaps it’s not Shelby’s fault that he’s so out of touch with the costly, bureaucratic, uncaring system now run by a handful of insurance corporations. After all he’s been in Congress for 30 years, so he and his family have long been receiving platinum-level coverage, courtesy of us taxpayers. Yes, you see, Shelby already gets excellent socialized health care, so of course he thinks it’s the best!

Obama is not so bold as to offer you and me the same sweet deal that our congress critters get, but his plan does include one provision to help us escape the untender mercies of insurance profiteers. Called the “public option,” it creates a publicly-run insurance plan as an alternative to the costly, mingy, inscrutable policies shoved at us by the big, monopolistic insurers.

Of course, insurance executives don’t want any real competition, so they’ve unleashed an army of Washington lobbyists to get congress to kill this option. The question is whether the industry’s political cash and lobbying clout will induce enough senators and house members to vote against the American people – 72% of whom tell pollsters they want the public option.

To learn more and to support real consumer choice in health insurance, contact Democracy for America: democracyforamerica.com .

“Are You Serious? GOP Senator Says U.S. Health Care Best in ‘World History'” www.alternet.org, June 8, 2009.

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