It always puzzles me when I hear people terrified, literally by the government when it is WE THE PEOPLE who ARE the government!! As one of my favorite president's, FDR said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." So if we are the government then why be afraid of ourselves? So why be afraid of the government providing an option (choice) in our health care decisions? Especially when you figure you can fire the politicians (through voting) if the public option doesn't work the way the majority want it to and vote in people to overturn the program altogether if need be. That's just one of the reasons why government is so important because it provides a safety valve to the structure of our country when balance or fairness need to be administered.
However, you can't fire the CEO of your insurance company, nor can you vote for who is on the board of directors. You can't really switch companies if your employer provides your coverage because they pick the plan for the entire company to use. And even if you do have a chance to pick a new provider--we all know that the majority of them run their businesses the same way. So in reality you don't have a real choice of a health insurance plan, which would bring true competition and better accountability to the private industry until and unless you have a public option to regulate the system a little bit.
I think we need to spend less time fearing the government (which is actually fear of each other) and increase our attention toward the growing, corporate, monopolies, which are creeping back into our society and crowding out small businesses. I have no problem with corporations, business or capitalism in general, in fact I think they are essential. However, I do have a problem with uncontrolled capitalism. These corporations start off o.k. and with good intentions but as more and more regulations fall away they get greedy and grow too big. It creates a lop-sided society where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. So these corporations have grown so big that they are mega-multinational corporations with more wealth and power than some entire countries.
Not all but a lot of these mega-corporations like the insurance giants are growing so much that they are beginning to take away more from the populous than they give. So they are quite literally killing the, "golden goose who lays the golden eggs" which is the middle-class and the backbone of a strong, vibrant economy. They have become too powerful too reign in due to too much relaxation of regulations set in motion in the last two or three decades. The government is kept in check by the democratic voting process and the balance of powers between the three branches of government as dictated by our Constitution. So the true and time-tested role of the government is to act as the arbiter of last resort and the "parent" to maintain a free, fair and balanced society. It was a Republican ironically, Teddy Roosevelt who used the power of the government to bust up the monopolies of corporations when they crowded out competition and eroded consumer protections. That is a very critical reason why we need a public option in health care so that there is a third party to check the power of corporations to maintain fair business practices.
Another irony of T.R. is that he was the first U.S. president to propose the idea of universal health care.
We supporters of sensible regulation and competition in health care are not against corporations making money and succeeding, however, we are against them becoming so powerful that, "we the people" become powerless toward them. That is what Obama and supporters of health care reform are seeking to ensure--that, "We the people" maintain control over not just government but also unchecked, corporate power. There is a reason for history and a reason why trust busting and monopoly busting happened in Teddy Roosevelt's time of the Robber Barons. If you don't believe that loose regulations aren't creating a modern era of Robber Barons then you are dangerously over looking history, which if not respected will repeat itself until we learn not to repeat the same mistakes. Let's stop touching the hot stove and expecting different results without turning down the temperature--i.e. sensible regulation with health care in the form of a public option.
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