President Bush wants to leave American families to the mercy of profit-run healthcare -- a practical and moral failure.
George W. Bush doesn’t want you to think of a sick child. Not Graeme Frost. Not Gemma Frost. Not Bethany Wilkerson. Not any of the real children affected.
He wants you straining your eyes on the fine print of policies, puzzling over the nuances of coverage — whether you can afford premiums for basic, catastrophic, comprehensive or limited health insurance. Last week on “Real Time With Bill Maher,” even Tucker Carlson kind of got it right, saying, “No one child is a metaphor — he’s a kid!” That’s the point. They’re all kids, each one, one by one. The question is, do you care?
The actuaries don’t. And can’t. Health insurance companies make their money by denying care. They maximize profit by authorizing as little care as they can get away with. That’s what all those administrative costs — as high as 30 percent — and all that paperwork are mostly about. It takes a lot of people to justify denying care.
It’s the opposite of the way the market is supposed to work: Make more money by delivering more product. The health insurance industry makes more money by delivering less product. It maximizes profits by minimizing care.
Profit-run medicine is not, and cannot be, full care. What is needed is patient- and doctor-run medicine. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is just that. Our children need care. Our doctors provide it. The government handles the transactions, period. And we pay a lot less and get a lot more, because there are virtually no administrative costs and no profits being taken by outsiders.
Profit-maximizing insurance, as opposed to doctor-provided care, forces the nation to choose among its children: who will get care and who won’t, who will suffer and who won’t, who will live and who will die.
Bush and his conservative allies don’t want us to see sick children, just as they don’t want us to see those bodies in bags coming back from Iraq. They’re in the habit of sweeping our human casualties under the rug.
But Americans are a compassionate people. We do care about sick children. We do care about our dead and wounded vets and their families. We do care about victims of Hurricane Katrina. Empathy and compassion are what this country is about. America is about caring for one another, about being in the same boat, about being a national family. It is not about profiting from someone else’s suffering, especially if that someone else is a child.
Government in America has a sacred moral mission to protect us, its citizens. Protection means more than the military and the police. It means worker protection, consumer protection, environmental protection and Social Security. And it means health security.
President Bush warns us against “government-run” healthcare, which is anything but government run. In SCHIP, the government doesn’t deliver care, it enables it. It directs payments. Bush wants to leave the nation’s children — and the rest of us — to the mercy of profit-run healthcare. The reason we need SCHIP is that profit-run healthcare has failed.
When children in your family fall sick, you don’t look away. You make sure they are cared for and get better. That’s the way the American family should also work.
George Lakoff and Glenn W. Smith are senior fellows at the Rockridge Institute in Berkeley, Calif.
More Related Stories
- What's 2013's "Gone Girl"? Here are this summer's best reads
- Twitter talks back: Obama's missed salute
- Fox executive behind "Does Someone Have to Go?" leaving the network
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Guantánamo prisoner on hunger strike cries for help on Twitter
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- The secrets of cicada survival
- Hillary Clinton memoir shows up on Amazon
- Nobody "needs" to rape
- A brief history of Jennifer Weiner's literary fights
- First look: Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard shine in "The Immigrant”
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- 3 possible solutions to international tax avoidance
- “I just want the U.S. to send my father home”
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Catholic Church in market for more exorcists
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Army weapons engineer tied to white nationalist organizations
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Wikipedia's anti-Pagan crusade
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11
On March 21, 2010, the House voted to approve a healthcare bill intended to overhaul the system and guarantee Americans access to health insurance. The vote was 219 to 213. Problem solved? Hardly.