In President Obama’sWeekly Address of February 20, 2010 he spoke regarding the resurrected issue of Health Care Reform and his planned meeting with Congressional members late next week. According to Reuters’ reporter Donna Smith, the President will present his own form of a health plan to be published “as early as Sunday or Monday.” The President opened his Saturday morning address by discussing the latest rate hikes which Anthem Blue Cross of California was preparing to institute upon its policyholders. He then went on to site other examples in the states of Kansas and Michigan where he also referred to individual insurance providers within each of those states who had also raised their rates significantly.
The President then surmised these circumstances to be examples of how “the bottom line is that the status quo is good for the insurance industry and bad for America.” While President Obama lays out his view of the cause and effect relationship for why rates are rising (greedy and presumably un-American corporations, in this case insurance, pursuing profit); he conspicuously fails to provide further detail as to why these companies are raising rates. When considering that two of the three states which Obama sites are also two of the worst hit with unemployment rates (both over 12% according to Bureau of Labor Statistics reports of January 2010) and the almost inseparable link between employment and health insurance in the modern economy; as well as the lack of competition due to federal regulations which restrict insurance companies from reaching beyond state borders; it should be no surprise that these companies must raise rates as they are forced to cover their relative undiminished costs from a smaller pool of policyholders.
Of course this trend becomes a vicious cycle as insurance companies are forced to raise rates to cover costs, they invariably are placing more of their present policyholders, much of which is small business owners covering their own employees, in positions to make choices about their own business costs; which will likely lead to eventual if not immediate dropping of some of those businesses’ health insurance in order to “keep the doors open.” This again leads to further reduction of the overall pool of policyholders and the cycle repeats itself until the insurance company itself can no longer afford to stay in business and therefore another competitive avenue is destroyed.
The impact of this insurance company’s destruction is not restricted in a vacuum but further destroys the already restricted competition within the health insurance market, increasing the short-term power of still existing insurance companies to continue to cannibalize each other with increasing rates until only one survives and that one can theoretically monopolize the market (I say theoretically because history shows that monopolies can never realistically control the market but only creates and increases alternatives, be they legitimate or “black market”).
The winner or survivor of the above scenario is the one who is least concerned about the cost of business in that they are most able to somehow cover those costs whether it results in a profit or not. With this in mind, it would be safe to assume that the President’s health plan will allow for the “public option” where citizens who cannot afford private health insurance may resort to a government supplied plan. A plan which will not have to be as concerned about costs because it has a seeming advantage which the private insurance companies do not: it can “produce” the money it needs without expanding its pool of policyholders through either raising taxes, or by printing the money; either alternative only leaves negative effects upon an economy as it takes money from the economy (creating deflation or recession) in the former, or, in the case of the latter, adds money to a stagnant or shrinking economy (creating inflation).
However, the resulting power of a government monopoly or “single-payer” health insurance system do not stop with a society’s economy, for it also affects the person directly, i.e. his or her body, allowing for the government to decide the fate of that body; as the government, in the interest of its self preservation (at some point it must deal with the increasing threat of costs in its program) will have to decide whose existence is more important, its own or that of the person whose cost of survival places a heavier burden on the government’s cost, which threatens its own survival.
Fabian Socialist and author, George Bernard Shaw, who strongly believed in the Socialist or Statist regimes of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (the former two, at least, had government health care programs) was quoted as saying:
“You must all know half a dozen people at least who are no use in this world, who are more trouble than they are worth. Just put them there and say Sir, or Madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence? If you can’t justify your existence, if you’re not pulling your weight in the social boat, if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then, clearly, we cannot use the organizations of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us and it can’t be of very much use to yourself.”
It was, of course, Shaw’s Socialist or Liberal mindset which the Bolshevik Communist Party of the former Soviet Union governed by and as a result, health care was a political weapon by which the Communist used to control or “liquidate” there political enemies, including fellow Socialists and Communists.
In The Black Book of Communism, co-author Nicolas Werth, writes how Stalin’s Soviet government repressed “”socially alien elements’ in (Stalin’s) ‘new socialist society;'” these socially alien elements included “clergy…, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, and craftsmen.” Werth states repeatedly how members of these various professions and trades were denied “medical attention” or “their right to medical care.” The members of these groups were also heavily loaded with other tax responsibilities in order to make it impossible for them to remain in business and therefore not be fully reliant upon government assistance for personal survival; that is if they were not deported to another region of the Soviet Union, or a concentration camp or even executed as an “enemy of the state.”
Is it no wonder then why President Obama denied being part of a “Bolshevik plot” a few weeks ago concerning Health Care Reform, even though the evidence affirms the opposite conclusion; or that he provided an alternative future from that which history shows, in this week’s Weekly Address, where he points the finger at the ever expanding profit making insurance companies as the enemies of “Americans” and not the ever expanding power of government?
Courtois Stephane, Nicolas Werth, et. al. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999. pp 169-174.