Health Care Reform Is Now "Health Insurance Reform"

Last Updated Aug 5, 2009 2:09 PM EDT

Opponents of healthcare reform have a handful of arguments that they have been using to defend the status quo. They say that most people like their treatment choices and don't want the government in the "doctor-patient relationship." Some argue that America's relatively high medical costs are really a good thing, since that might indicate quality and attract valedictorians to the medical field.

Overall, Americans, especially those who are wealthy or have health insurance through their employers, are more concerned with costs than expanding coverage to the uninsured. By arguing that most Americans actually like their healthcare, lobbyists for companies that profit from America's broken system can prevent true structural reforms and steer the debate towards superficial cost-saving solutions such as digitizing medical records.
That might be one reason why the Obama Administration's rhetoric has switched recently from "healthcare reform" to "health insurance reform." More Americans are starting to realize that requiring private insurance for routine medical procedures simply does not make any sense. Insurance is intended as a safety net for unlikely, catastrophic events. It doesn't cost that much to insure a car since most drivers never get into accidents and the insurance paperpushers aren't involved in every oil change.
I am not claiming that whatever form of "insurance reform" Congress pumps out will work. Any plan that seeks to expand, rather than reduce, the role of private health insurers, whether through mandates or subsidies, will probably cause costs to rise. Without a robust "public option," the transition away from our inefficient system won't happen.

What will happen when the American people wake up and finally understand that private health insurance plans can't be a part of the solution because they are the problem? Share your thoughts on the matter below.

  • Stefan Deeran

    Stefan Deeran helps environmental nonprofits and green businesses develop and execute their new media campaigns. He also publishes The Exception magazine, a nonpartisan news platform serving his home state of Maine. You can follow him on Twitter @RStefanDeeran or via Facebook.