Bush and Your Health
Finally, ABC News does its job unpacking Bush's latest healthcare proposals, and the reality is profoundly unsettling. In essence, Bush wants to move away from employer-provided healthcare altogether, and toward a system where everyone purchases his own private health insurance -- An ownership society indeed! According to the ABC piece:
"The Bush vision is quite radical. He essentially is dreaming of a world where there is no employer-provided insurance," said Uwe Reinhardt, a health economist at Princeton University. "You buy your own insurance, but you pay the first $2,000 to $4,000 per year out of your own pocket."
The article further notes, "Bush campaign officials say consumers will be more savvy and aware of costs if they're in charge of their own health expenses. That, they argue, will reduce the total bill America pays for health care. "
The last bit sounds distinctly like the usual Republican code for sharply limiting peoples' options by laying all the costs on our doorstep. We see it with social services, we see it with education, and now we are seeing it in healthcare. The most likely scenario here is that, as usual, the wealthiest and healthiest Americans will be able to take the best advantage of the Bush proposal -- getting the best private insurance rates, and being in a favorable position to save for whatever out-of-pocket costs are not covered
Meanwhile, the poor and the sick will be screwed, since they will face the highest insurance rates and far higher out-of-pocket costs that they will be unlikely to be able to meet in any case. They will become increasingly unlikely to obtain preventive care or address non-emergency health problems due to the costs involved. As usual, the phony rhetoric of "ownership," "responsibility" and "control" mean that the least powerful among us will suffer so that Bush's "have-mores" can, well, have more.
We are glad that ABC, at least, is making Bush's real agenda explicit.