Why No News Story on This Biggie?
All four agree that the way to a fair and universal health plan for America is to DO AWAY WITH FOR-PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES. We don't want "socialized medicine" with the government running the health biz. We don't want health care to be "free." We want every penny to be paid by the recipients of the care, just on a progressive ability-to-pay, non-profit insurance basis. The House Bill (HR 676) that describes this approach is called "The New Medicare" or "Medicare for All." (If Edwards were still in the Senate, I betcha there would be a Senate Bill.)
OK, great idea. Over some years, we gradually phase out the for-profit insurance companies, and transition to the Medicare-like system with tiny administrative costs comparatively. Nearly all the health care money goes to actual health care providers. What a concept!
Inherent in this plan is an absolutely HUGE news story waiting for some enterprising journalists to write. It is:
Just How Big Is The For-Profit Health Insurance Business? And...
Just start adding them up, Cigna, Humana, Aetna, Kaiser, Wellpath, United Healthcare, etc. and all those state Blue Crosses and Shields (some are still non-profits, BTW). The list is impressive - or scary.
How many people work for all those companies? How many giga-bucks executives do they have? How many salesmen? How many stockholders waiting for their dividends? How much of our health care dollars go to pay NOT our doctors and nurses and labs, but all those insurance people? There are numbers out there ranging from 25 to 35%, maybe more. That's billions.
So transitioning away from for-profit companies to a Medicare type plan will be an earthquake. So the rest of the story is:
...How Would This Transition Work?
Sixty Minutes could spend a whole show on this. Bill Moyers would make it righteously poignant. John Stewart and Steven Colbert could make it achingly hilarious. Limbaugh could laugh; Olberman could get overraught; Huffington could huff; Dobbs could doubt; O'Reilly could rally the religious right... oh, you see the possibilities. This could be bigger than the NIE, Rudy's relationships and Hillary's high handing combined.
The best thing about this untold story is that it would add context and reality to the rather vaporous discussions on universal health care we have right now.
Non-journalists: Write a letter to your very own editor. Petition your favorite news show. Demand some facts and figures. Make us all smarter.
Journalists: C'mon, folks, get off your duffs and do it.