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American health care is about profits not medicine

I found the editorial in Thursday’s Tribune misleading in that it failed to mention facts that are necessary if one is to understand the health care debate.

While it’s important that such important decisions be made with care and deliberation, it’s also true that time is of the essence.

The insurance industry and other opponents of reform have an endless supply of dollars, lobbyists and politicians at work, shaping public opinion to help insure that reform doesn’t happen.

It’s a lot like the Wall Street bailout — they’re positioning themselves to continue to rake in jaw-dropping profits in exchange for a promise to police themselves better in the future.

Every attempt at health care reform has yielded nothing but the same empty promise.

I also take exception to the statement that American health care is the best in the world. We’re on a par with other developed nations in curing most conditions — better than some, not quite as good as others.

Our infant mortality rate, however, is higher than all of theirs. Bear in mind that we’re the only industrialized nation that doesn’t provide coverage for all its citizens, and that our health care is by far the most expensive in the world.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, Americans will spend $8,300 per person for health care this year, and that figure will rise to $13,000 per person by 2017 if no reform is enacted.

The complaints about spending billions hardly ever mention that the reason is to save trillions, nor do they often mention the cost of the waste and fraud involved in the system we have now.

Americans should educate themselves on this issue instead of being bamboozled by businessmen who care only about profits, not the state of American health care.

For example, the dreaded public option, which is fiercely opposed by lobbyists swarming the capital, wouldn’t subsidize a government plan.

The subsidies would go to people who need care, who could then shop for the best deal they could get. It would force everybody involved in our medical care to improve quality and lower costs.

If the public plan gets the better deal from pharmaceutical companies and hospitals, private insurers will have an incentive to negotiate a better deal, or even — gasp! — cut into their own profit margins in order to compete.

Knowledge is power. Know that a battle is raging. Corporate America is fighting hard to retain the status quo, to keep its stranglehold on our economy.

The constant refrain about the evils of health care reform is a well-orchestrated campaign that rivals anything we’ve seen before, but we’ve learned some hard lessons lately.

We’re about to find out if they can fool us twice.

Abby Fowler