Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Black-White Fallacy of Public Option

by Kevin Lynn

The Black–White Fallacy as defined by the New World Encyclopedia is the presentation of “only” two choices, with the product or idea being propagated as the better choice (for example, you can have an unhealthy, unreliable engine, or you can use brand X oil.) So after all the years of clamoring for reform we have now in front of us two choices when it comes to deciding the future of how healthcare will be paid for and delivered in this country.

You can see now why Montana Senator Max Baucus worked so fervently to ensure Single Payer didn’t have a place at the table. For the ploy to work there can only be "Brand X" and a "Brand Y" that is framed through the use of clever neuro-associations as the bad choice. But try as they may, they will not succeed. They won’t succeed not because the American people aren’t stupid enough to be duped – sadly, we are. The reason they won’t succeed is because the more the citizens of this country learn about Single Payer, the more they like it.

Right now millions of progressives across the country are in a bit of a quandary. On one hand they understand the benefits of a Single Payer system, but on the other, Dr./Governor Howard Dean is steering them to Brand X. I was in a bit of a quandary myself. There is a lot I respect and admire about Howard Dean but I am not about sacrifice my principles for him.

If in his estimate we cannot get from Congress the best health insurance system possible, then it is probably too corrupt a Congress to even attempt to pass any kind of healthcare reform. Perhaps the priority should not be reforming our healthcare system but reforming the way we finance our political campaigns. After all, if we really had our priorities straight wouldn’t we expect to first pass the “reform that makes all other reforms possible!” I bet Single Payer would have a place at the table if it were taxpayer money funding Senator Bacchus’s campaigns and not the insurance industry.

Read it all at The LA Progressive

I think we are now seeing the problems with taking Single Payer off the table - the Senate has made things so complicated they can't get agreement on a bill before the August recess.

My fear is that the public option is the compromise from single payer - but the Dems are making their plans so complicated, they will scare the public and reform will fail. A simple, sustainable Single Payer plan or just opening Medicare for enrollment regardless of age as a public option - are easily understood solutions to our current health care crisis. Unless you are worried about protecting health insurance profits.

Understandably, given the current economy and unemployment numbers, transforming the current health insurance industry could be a very scary political position. However, Conyer's single payer bill, HR-676, provides for transition time, job retraining where needed and assumes that many employees would be able to find work in the govt. system as it was expanded. A good number would stay where they are and continue to service supplemental insurance plans for those who could afford and wanted them.

Personally, I am still pushing for single payer. I don't see how anything else solves all the problems we are facing and is sustainable for the long term.

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