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|June 4 - June 10, 2009
Back to Letters
Blue Cross fears competition from the “public option”
by Jim Hightower
Golly — so many lies, so little time! Some of the profiteers in America’s current system of corporatized medicine are so panicked at the prospect of real health-care reform that they are already flinging great gobs of mendacious BS at our television screens in a desperate effort to stop reform.
For example, Blue Cross of North Carolina, a multibillion-dollar corporation that dominates that state’s health insurance market, is running TV ads warning darkly that President Obama’s reform plan will force patients into “a government-run” system that will restrict our choices and raise our costs. Rise up, is the message, and help defeat Obama’s plan.
Only — Obama has no such plan. In fact, his proposal dramatically increases consumer choice by creating a new insurance competitor — which is precisely why Blue Cross wants to kill it. Rather than leaving all of us to the un-tender mercies of rip-off insurance corporations that force us to pay ever-rising premiums for ever-declining coverage, Obama would give every American the additional choice of buying into a public insurance pool.
Called the “public option,” this alternative does not force anyone into the plan. The public option is, as the name suggests, optional. Folks can choose to stick with their private insurance policy if they’re satisfied with it — or switch to the public plan. The new option, though, will be much cheaper, because the government will not pay outlandish executive salaries, run expensive advertising
campaigns, rake off profits, or maintain vast bureaucracies to say “no” to patients and doctors, or have swank executive offices.
Such wasteful corporate overhead now siphons off about a third of our health care dollars — money that goes straight into the pockets of the insurance giants, doing nothing to provide any care. Blue Cross is determined to keep this system in place by staving off the creation of the pubic option — even if it has to run a PR campaign of lies to do it.
For more information on Jim Hightower's work — and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown — visit www.jimhightower.com.
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