Perhaps I’m in the minority here in South Dakota. I think we should have started with the single payer version, but I was okay with compromising to the public option but not at the beginning. Anything less is undesirable. Can we afford that?
All of our other issues are secondary because a significant portion of our money goes to health care. Plus that significant portion is growing at annual double digit rates. Using the rule of 72 and the insurance rates grow at a modest 10% per year our premiums will double again in 7 years. Can we afford that?
If health care premiums were dealt with as a tax we could not purchase anything else. Perhaps greater action would be taken if it were thought of premiums as a tax. My way of thinking is that we are paying big pharma to lobby against us with our own premiums or prescription fees. Can we afford that?
Also, you have insurance or you gamble you don’t need it and then pay for health care. People tell me that at the end of life is when health care is most expensive. This is only meant to be directed at people that have no living will. Plus we pay for those that have not had health care for a long period because it usually takes more medical assistance or care to relieve their problems. I don’t think we can afford that.
The economy can’t go forward because that portion of our incomes is going to health care or insurance payments. Which in effect is a primary driving force on the economy. Americans are spending at least 16% of GDP on health care. Those of us that have health care do pay for those don’t. I don’t think we can afford that.
Here is why I believe we need the public option. Insurance companies have allowed 44,000 people to die each year because of not having access to health care. If the insurance companies are not gouging us then it is darn close to it. North Dakota Insurance Commissioner reported that North Dakotans Insurance rates for those on the Blues went up by 18%. While the Commissioners audit was going on the Big Blues were having a conference in the Bahamas. I don’t think we can afford that.
Yes I’m disappointed in Stephanie’s vote. One of her arguments is that it would cost South Dakotans too much and low reimbursement. Then I ask everyone and her how much is health care costing you? Do you know what the hidden costs are to the individual citizens of South Dakota?
We can’t stay with the status quo, we can’t afford the status quo and I can’t afford it.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
These thoughts come from Richie Nordstrom, longtime Pennington County Democrat activist and union organizer.