THE BLOG

An Injustice for Republican Readers and Tea Party Partisans

03/10/2011 11:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Brian Ross Managing Editor, Truth-2-Power.com and pioneering ezine editor of the first sports ezine, MLNSports

GOPers, gather 'round. For your consideration, a travesty of bureaucracy: Eighty-eight different agencies make a slew of complex and often conflicting rules that mire thousands of small and mid-sized American businesses in snarls of paperwork that run up man-hours, reduce their company output, profit and hamstring their ability to do business.

It's exactly the kind of thing that Republicans say is wrong with the system. In this case, I have to agree with you.

These bureaucrats create an immense amount of uncertainty for the businesses under their jurisdiction. Their paperwork consumes nearly one-third (31%) of every dollar that they take in. Ever-changing rules, not just within the agency, but even over thousands of individual transactions all arbitrated in different ways by the regulators, make it a nightmare for businesses to do business. Their customers pay hugely inflated bills because of all of this.

So legislators called for a streamlining of the system that would return an estimated $400B back to these businesses annually. As you would expect, though, political opposition has stalled any progress on reducing this shameful systemic waste.

Tea Party regulars and more mainstream fiscal conservatives alike should be able to get behind putting an end to practices that are driving American businesses out of business.

If I have your righteous indignation right now, then that's good, because the minute that I tell you which bureaucracy this is with two words, most of you will shut your minds like a steel trap.

Health care.

America's physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and medical service providers are plagued by the inefficiencies of unregulated bureaucracies that answer to no one, especially not the insurance policy holders, who have no voice.

If you're still reading, then you're doing better than about 95% of your compatriots, because usually the minute that you utter the phrase "health care," every hour of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and the like screaming about socialism and shovel-ready grandmas.

Somehow, though, someone has bamboozled you into believing that corporate socialism is somehow better than government socialism.

According to Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek, we currently we spend 15.2% of GDP on health care, versus 9.7% for Canada, which, by the way has a higher life expectancy than we do by about three years.

We spend over $4 on health and welfare for every senior citizen to every dollar that we spend educating and providing proper nutrition for all of our children.

Such a system cannot sustain this country.

I know that numbers and facts don't get in the way of a good rant at Fox, but America has middling to poor ratings for good health and life expectancies, and yet has the highest costs to attain that mediocrity of any developed country in the world.

There are some things that the private sector just does not do well. Running the funding for the behemoth health care system is one of them. There has been no real competition, as insurance offered through a business is locked in. Even individuals who buy their own insurance find themselves locked in by fear that moving might expose them to some hidden pre-existing condition fee hike or outright denial.

What would be lost in a single-payer system? A lot of the mark-up and gross profit that the insurance industry wangles out of health insurance. In 2010, the industry racked up $11.7 billion in profits -- a 51% increase since 2008.

Why the increase? The insurance industry is padding its bottom line. Their actuarial numbers probably do not look a whole lot better than the government's.

They will need the cash for one of two reasons: To care for the aging baby boom generation, or, if single-payer becomes a reality, to jump out of health care coverage with one of the biggest golden parachutes in American business history.

We are, at this point, powerless to stop them, as the health insurance lobby is in the pockets of nearly three-quarters of our Congress to some degree or another.

A single-payer system returns $400 billion to taxpayers pockets largely through efficiencies in billing and administration. Doctors and hospitals, dealing with one set of rules, can go back to the business of improving care rather than jumping through the hoops of 10-15 insurance carriers with dozens of plans and hundreds of rules.

Medicare never became the bogeyman of death panels. Today it is run efficiently. An expanded Medicare system would be capable of insuring everyone in this country who is here legally for a fraction of the current bill which you and I pay out today.

Single-payer is a very Republican idea, if you practice what you preach about ending bureaucratic waste. You should get behind it.