Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SW.org Editorial on Health Care

"WARNING: THE federal government is poised to commit robbery. And the poor, defenseless victim is...the health insurance industry.

Say what?

That's what top executives of the health care industry and the politicians who represent them want you to believe about the Obama administration's health care reform proposal--because the White House is promoting (with a lot of qualifications) the so-called "public option": a government-run program that the uninsured could choose in order to get coverage.

"We don't believe that it is possible to create a government plan that could operate on a level playing field," moaned Karen Ignagni, president of the insurance industry's lobbying group, and Scott Serota, president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, in a letter to senators. "Regardless of how it is initially structured, a government plan would use its built-in advantages to take over the health insurance market."

Read the rest here.

2 comments:

Arvilla said...

The "not an even playing field" argument is so ridiculous. What it betrays is that business as such has no coherent ideological stance about reality or nature.

I mean, to complain that they can't compete if someone else offers something better, cheaper, is to completely contradict the arguments they usually make about the beauty of competition and the free market, the old, "if you can't compete, pick yourself up by your boot straps and do better," notion. Here they have to stress that they want protection from something all around better than them.

It's nonsense, of course, and not surprising. Capital is their motive, not a free market, or equal opportunity for business or anything else. So transparent.

T said...

Totally.

The only problem is that it is not obvious to everyone that these are private interests masquerading as universal ones.

Its a strange double-standard: if you try and make an argument about justice, full stop, you are ridiculed as an 'idealist' or someone 'out of touch'. (by 'justice' all I mean, is that you ask questions like: what would institutions in a democratic, well-ordered society that reflected universalizable interests look like?)

But whenever an oppressed sector of society makes a claim based on membership in an oppressed group, the objection is that of "special interest groups" and "private interests".

Yet, when business interests assert thinly-cloaked self-interests in the public sphere, they seem to have a monopoly on the language of universal interests, that is to say, the language of their interests (profit margins, investment, share values, etc.) appears indistinguishable from social or general interests. It is made to appear as though those interests just are general or social or shared. The once contingent slogan "what's good for Wall-Street is good for America" appears now as a timeless fact about contemporary life.

In this way, much mass discourse lacks the space (or the very language) to articulate the problems with the present state of affairs.