John Colson: Hit and Run |

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly

Let’s talk about health insurance.

More specifically, let’s consider the role of insurance companies in our nation’s health care system, and what it might mean for the deepening recession and our ability to overcome it.

And let’s keep to the basics, to the simplest explanations rather than the Byzantine arguments so favored by “experts” and “consultants” who like to dazzle us with details in the hope that we will lose sight of the simple truths we can all understand.

The political advocacy organization,, has been telling its army of supporters that the insurance companies are the bad guys in the fight to reform health care in the U.S., and they’re right.

According to a story in The Washington Post, cited by, the health insurance lobby has contributed some $1 billion to political campaigns over the past two years alone, and we all know that lobbyists don’t hand out checks to politicians as a good deed.

No, they do it for their own, well, their own health, not the health of the rest of us. The insurance industry wants to make sure it does not lose its position of power and control over us and our doctors and our hospitals, over which drugs are available to us, and over such highly personal issues as the question of preventative care as a way of avoiding sickness, versus emergency care once we already are sick.

Insurance company hacks and secretaries, people who have no interest in a customer’s health and who take their orders from managers who can only see bottom lines, make decisions about what will be covered and what won’t.

And the entire corrupt scene is entirely based on fear ” fear on the part of customers that they won’t be able to pay their medical bills, fear on the part of politicians that some other corrupt dilettante will do better at mouthing the insurance industry line and thus get more of the industry’s bribes.

And then there’s the fear of the “communist menace,” represented by the one idea that seems to make sense in terms of health-care reform, known by the confusing term “single payer.” Unbelievable as it seems to me, I still hear this line from too many politicians, who decry single-payer reform as a move toward socialism, and who lie about how bad such systems have proven to be in other countries.

In a nutshell, single-payer health care would give us a system where a government agency would be in charge of health-care decisions and policies, much like Medicare and Medicaid and the Veterans Administration. Naysayers can warble all they want about the inefficiencies and inadequacies of such government programs, but the plain fact is that the public gets much better service from these agencies than from the much-vaunted private sector, meaning the health insurance juggernaut and its adherents.

As President Obama and his team get into the business of reforming our health care system, they are running headlong into the network of barricades and lies thrown up by the insurance lobby and its cabal of sycophants and hangers-on.

Just as they did in 1993, when Hillary Clinton was in charge of her husband’s health-care reform effort, they’ll trot out all sorts of misleading claptrap and outright falsehoods to confuse the public and Congress.

What we, the public, have to do is hang on to what we know to be true, and that is the undeniable fact that business as usual in the health care system is killing us as individuals and crippling our economy. It does no good for anyone other than the greedy schemers in the insurance companies, their lawyers and the politicians who gobble up the industry’s bribes, while the rest of us wonder how it can be this way.

We can’t let the experts and the toadies run this game on us again. Back in the late 1980s and early ’90s, before Hillary botched things up, there was a groundswell of support for some kind of single-payer reform. It got derailed largely because she was too willing to leave power in the hands of the lawyers and the insurance companies.

Check out the facts for yourselves, and let your Congressmen know you want something better, or they’ll be out looking for honest work instead of feeding at the public trough.

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