THE BLOG
09/23/2010 01:27 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Absolute Dictatorship of Insurance Companies Over Healthcare Has Ended

Today, September 23, 2010, President Obama and congressional Democrats freed approximately 300 million Americans from the absolute dictatorship of insurance companies over their healthcare. The other, approximately 50 million Americans were freed in 1965 with the passage of Medicare (aka, "medical care for the aged under the Social Security system").

Republicans such as Ronald Reagan declared in TV ads that Medicare would enslave both doctors and patients, with government compelling physician relocation and making decisions that doctors should be making about healthcare. Neither, of course, occurred -- indeed, so unobtrusive is the government hand that many Republican Tea Party members have screamed to "keep government out of my Medicare." The administrative cost of Medicare is less than 5% of total expenses, and that means that more than 95 cents out of every Medicare dollar goes to pay for... wait for it... healthcare!

Nonetheless, the "Young Guns" (who are more like aged rightwing radicals) will propose, if Republicans take control of Congress, that Medicare be privatized into a "voucher" system providing people with money that will cover increasingly small percentages of private premiums and jack up the premiums for the rest of us as high-risk, expensive, patients are added to the below 65-year-old pool.

All the same tired, worn, absurd lies have been made about "Obamacare." It almost worked to derail the entire program, and it certainly reduced the benefits that could have been provided at an even lower cost. But this law planted a giant stake in the ground. The tectonic tensions that remain because of Republican Tea Party lies and control of the dialogue will have to be corrected. That is reserved for another day.

Today, insurance companies can no longer drop your coverage when you become ill. They can no longer exclude your children from coverage under your policy due to a pre-existing illness, real or imaginary. Parents, as of today, also have the right to include their children up to age 26 under their insurance policy. Insurance companies can no longer impose annual or lifetime limits on coverage.

And, small businesses will receive a tax credit (i.e., dollar-for-dollar, not just a deduction) for paying for healthcare for their employees, immediately impacting up to 16.6 million people. Moreover, these small businesses can receive direct help to provide PREVENTATIVE CARE, such as immunizations, in their health insurance policies, similar to benefits big companies sometimes provide their employees. It limits non-direct healthcare expenditures to 20-25%, with a requirement to report those percentages and refund to enrollees any amounts that exceed that limit. (Note: This is still more than 4X higher than Medicare's administrative costs).

Before today, an insurance company had dictatorial powers. It could, and often did, the following: exclude children from coverage, drop coverage once a person became ill, refuse to insure someone in the first place if they had pre-existing illnesses, refuse to include children 18 and over under their parents' insurance.

No more.

To Republicans, 9/23/10 is a day of infamy. To the American people, including many Republican voters who will benefit, it is a day of freedom and justice. (Incidentally, our Preamble talks about Liberty and Justice, and so does our pledge of allegiance. This law achieves both.)

But, this is the law the Republican Manifesto pledges to destroy. And, while they are at it, throw Medicare overboard as well -- despite the American Medical, Nurses and Hospital Associations and AARP (i.e., our doctors, nurses, hospitals and elderly -- people who just might know a bit more about these matters than "Young Guns"), favoring both this law and opposing the replacement of Medicare with vouchers.

Vote them in, and they will vote this out. And, if they do not get their way, they will shut down the government until the administration caves.

Republicans fight to maintain the absolute dictatorship of insurance companies over peoples' lives, and, when they are not doing that, apologize to oil companies.

Oh, yes. There is then John Boehner, the man who would be Speaker of the House. He not only wants to repeal this (he now pays a tanning booth tax to maintain his tan), he also wants cigarette companies to be able to enslave your children to the ill-health of smoking... and, just to be certain of support, handed out tobacco lobby checks to his fellow Republicans on the floor of the House of Representatives, forever disgracing him and the House itself.

And, Americans are seriously considering trusting these people with their livelihoods, healthcare and retirement?