Letter: Remedy needed

August 23, 2013

To the editor:

The political cartoon on the Opinion page of your Aug. 13 edition made the point that Congress is exempted from Obamacare, but hasn’t Congress always been exempted from anything but the best insurance coverage, while the general public struggles with for-profit companies that have no problem collecting monthly payments, but do everything possible to deny claims? Critics continually question the funding of Obamacare, and with good reason, but have they forgotten the original proposal that would have required no taxpayer funding whatsoever?

The original public option proposal would have been funded by the policy holders, in the same manner as Social Security and Workmen’s Compensation, which are neither entitlements nor welfare; the payments are collected via payroll deduction. However, the premiums would be based on policy holders’ incomes, rather than corporate profitability. Because all of the policy holders would not need medical care at the same time, the collective premiums would be enough to cover the treatment of those who do, as long as corporate CEOs are not paid tremendous salaries and stockholders are not paid dividends.

If yearly evaluations reveal a surplus, premiums could be lowered; if a deficit occurs, premiums could be raised. People who can afford for-profit health insurance would be unaffected. So why all of the add-ons that turned the original proposal into the undesirable conglomeration known as “Obamacare?” To me, the answer is very simple. When and if our economy recovers, and workers again or for the first time make adequate wages to support a reasonable quality of life, who among them would willingly give up the affordable non-profit public option, and voluntarily purchase high-dollar for-profit policies? Left in its original form, a public option would have been not only self supporting, but affordable for the uninsured.

Did our nation’s insurance industry generously allow uninsured American citizens a sensible public option, or pollute it with undesirable add-ons to discredit if not destroy the original proposal, lest they lose potential customers when and if working Americans’ jobs return to our country? And who makes tremendous campaign contributions to the politicians who deliberately polluted the original proposal into Obamacare, lest it be self-supporting rather than taxpayer funded, and provide a much-needed option for displaced American workers and our working poor?

Robert C. Currie Jr.