(originally published at OpEdNews)
Were not Americans almost certain that universal health care would be legislated into existence during the next four to eight years? Were not Americans almost certain that at least one financial burden would be removed from their shoulders over the next four to eight years? Were not Americans almost certain that it could hold its head high as it showed the rest of the world that its government can be as compassionate and as competent as the government of any other nation in the world? Was this not part of the message that Americans sent when they went to the polls in November of 2008?
What have Americans learned about hope and its government?
Americans have learned that its government is neither willing nor able to do what the governments of every other industrialized nation in the world are able and willing to do. They have learned that their government is unable and unwilling to meet its mission statement. Lest we forget what the mission statement is:
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Our government has decided to ignore the promise to “promote the general welfare”.
The Democrats, the political party that’s supposed to be a loyal opposition to its only competitor, the Republican Party, has violated a political anti-trust guideline. It has joined with The Republican Party to ensure that Americans continue to pay premiums to insurance companies which guarantee the CEOs and top managers titanic incomes the likes of which should embarrass them. They should be embarrassed by those incomes because they should know that US citizens just recently obtained the ability to work for no less than $7.25 an hour. They should be embarrassed by those incomes because those incomes are gained from the illnesses and injuries of Americans. It is only by charging premiums, co-pays and out of pocket payments which are strains on middle class Americans and out of reach for lower middle class and poor Americans that these individuals are able to collect such monumental paychecks.
We got our government’s message, though, didn’t we? We don’t need no stinking government handouts. We’re a proud people and we choose to support ourselves. We choose to support ourselves in spite of the fact that a large and growing number of us have no means of support. We choose to support ourselves in spite of the fact that wealthy CEOs and top managers in the private sector make the jobs in their companies and corporations available not to Americans, but to those who live in foreign nations, preferably poor foreign nations. We choose to support ourselves, which includes having the wherewithal to pay for medical care, without worrying about becoming poor or poorer or just plain broke, in spite of the fact that CEOs and top managers of American based corporations pad their salaries by hiring workers in nations where workers are happy to receive what in this nation would be a poverty level income. We choose to support ourselves in spite of the fact that CEOs and top managers in the private sector grab and maintain their wealth with such a protective spirit that they manufacture their goods in countries which are not wealthy enough, powerful enough or ethical enough to protect the air which their citizens breathe or the water which their citizens, paid poverty level salaries by American corporations, drink.
That’s OK, Mr. President, members of Congress and true leaders of our nation, the heads of American based corporations, pay us no mind. We can take care of ourselves. After all, you decided to stop paying us a living wage and allowing us to lead what we came to know as an American middle class existence a long time ago, didn’t you?
What if A People’s Health Insurance Company was organized and incorporated? What if The People’s Health Insurance Company should differ from other insurance companies is some significant ways?
First, the structures in which every employee of The People’s Health Insurance Company worked would be modest. They would be comfortable for the employees because, unlike the insurance corporations that presently exist, the leaders of The People’s Health Insurance Company would realize that most of their employees, those who make whatever profit the company may incidentally make, are people in need of fairly priced health insurance and a living wage. The People’s Health Insurance Company would use the greenest of technologies to provide comfortable working conditions for its employees. There would not be one unnecessary gadget, decoration or other expense put into the structures in which every and any employee worked.
Secondly, although no one would earn less than a living wage, no one would earn more than a living wage. Granted, the more responsibility one has in The People’s Health Insurance Company, the more one would be paid. This means that employees in the highest positions in the company would earn about $250,000 per year. The top employee, whether a president or a CEO, would earn no more than four times what the lowest paid employee earned. That would be the guideline which The People’s Health Insurance Company would always use for defining the pay scale for its employees.
Thirdly, when any one of its employees fails to meet her or his expectations and a decision is made that he or she is not a good fit for her or his position the company would do whatever it could to keep the employee and find something of value which the employee could do. However, if the company must part ways with any of its employees because that employee refused to do the job for which she or he was being paid, the company would cease to pay that employee. This may not seem unusual and it should not be unusual. Nonetheless, one way in which The People’s Health Insurance Company would differ from other insurance companies is that this policy would hold true for all cases, including those involving the highest positions of management, including the CEO. The CEO or leader of The People’s Insurance Company would not continue to be paid if she or he left the company on unfavorable terms.
The employees would, of course, have the right to organize so that the fair labor practices which were put into place in the beginning would be able to withstand the unforeseen leadership of a potential future greedy leader.
The lack of ornamentally extravagant surroundings coupled with the fair pay practices would be the reason The People’s Health Insurance Company would be able to offer everyone and anyone who is a citizen of the US or is even visiting the US any medical care necessary. It would not be free as our government insists that a profit must be realized from the illnesses or injuries of Americans. There would be a payment expected. That payment would be a monthly premium based upon a sliding scale. That premium would be the only payment expected of the clients. There would be no one in the United States who The People’s Health Insurance Company would not cover. In fact, it is quite possible that those who now receive coverage through their employers would view The People’s Health Insurance Company as a competitive option. It is quite possible that The People’s Health Insurance Company would help to lift the burden of providing health care support from businesses large and small. It is quite possible that The People’s Health Insurance Company would even provide “special” arrangements for people who worked for large American based corporations who kept their manufacturing facilities in this country or returned those facilities to this country. The People’s Health Insurance Company would reserve the right to audit the pay practices of corporations to make certain that they pay their employees what The People’s Health Insurance Company would consider a living wage.
The People’s Health Insurance Company would not turn anyone away who needed health care support. This includes those who are today protesting on behalf of wealthy insurance company CEOs and/or protesting our president’s skin color. Those people would come to The People’s Health Insurance Company for health insurance in spite of the fact that they are today not allowing our government to provide health care support for them.
Finally, there are medical providers who also want to see universal health care implemented, but who want to make sure that they are also treated fairly. The People’s Health Insurance Company would operate under the premise that providers entered the occupation to provide medical care to people, not to become wealthy from merely doing a job. The People’s Health Insurance Company should look forward to working with doctors, nurses and medical facilities whose main goal is to promote the general welfare. These would be proud and patriotic Americans who realize that illness and injury do not exist for the purpose of providing them a generous paying job.
Admittedly, this is only a straw man for what The People’s Health Insurance Company could do.
The People’s Health Insurance Company would need to get support from those who have a significant financial fortune and who are today in favor of the kind of universal health care that every other industrialized nation provides. The People’s Health Insurance Company will never even get off the ground without straight out donations from those who can donate significant sums of money. This should not be a problem as we all have seen people who are wealthy by almost any standard express support for universal health care. And that is exactly what The People’s Health Insurance Company would be providing, universal health care. If this never happened, we would have the right to question the sincerity of people who are expressing support for universal health care.
Universal health care is something the US government should be providing for American citizens.
It’s sad that Americans who believe that ours is a “we” society and not an “I’ve got mine so screw you” society would have to fill the gap left in the Founding Fathers’ mission statement with no help from their government. However, as stated, we heard our government’s answer to the question, “Do you intend to promote the general welfare of Americans?” and that answer has always been, is now and will no doubt always be a resounding, “No!”
“The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.” - Edwin Schlossberg
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