Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Gun Buybacks
Next story: News of the Weird

Universal Healthcare Now

Sabotaging universal healthcare reform is enabling the tyranny of a broken system. Conservatives and their Libertarian pets have menaced the public square in a manner that would have made Goebbels blush. What’s scarier than their imagined totalitarianism is that 46 to 50 million Americans are uninsured and for many of us lack of insurance is (or will soon be) truly a life-and-death matter. For example on Sunday’s PBS show NOW, Debbie Froberg of Las Vegas said, “I should have been in chemotherapy two weeks after my operation. It has been four months and I am just taking my chances…I’m doing exactly what our town is noted for: I’m gambling with my life.”

It is self-evident that anything less than a direct government role in healthcare is unacceptable.

Nevertheless, on August 17, NPR released a story on the Obama administration’s flexibility on the public option in order to secure a “win.” Obama reduced the public option’s importance last weekend at a town hall in Colorado by saying, “This is just one sliver of it…one aspect of it.”

The fear of a government takeover of healthcare generated by opponents like local Congressman Chris Lee—who according to received health industry campaign contributions ($5000 in 2008 from Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America)—cannot alter the reality of our tragic situation. They have only sought to intimidate us from reforming the system, in addition to creating a racist, ignorant, violent, childish display. Their only goal is to make you tune out, surrender any high ambitions, and maintain their profits.

According to administration officials, the alternative that the administration hopes the centrists will agree with to give the Democrats a legislative victory is non-for-profit independent healthcare cooperatives. The proposal of non-for-profit healthcare cooperatives ignores the fact that the insurance industry is permitted to exploit its customers and self-regulate its services outside the public eye.

Private competition is not the goal elsewhere, and many developed countries get a much better deal with direct government intervention. In England and France, coverage is universal, preventative, and patient-centered.

On Sunday, former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean called the public option “the entirety of health care reform.” Mr. Dean also correctly stated that “we shouldn’t spend $60 billion a year subsidizing the insurance industry.” would you pay for a service that doesn’t work, and is fundamentally and institutionally fraudulent?

President Obama’s original plan provides robust public option for the uninsured, a national healthcare exchange (no more disparate state monopolies), elimination of pre-existing conditions, and decreased administrative costs, Moreover, it won’t alter present insurance plans, provided that in the case of a serious illness insurers cannot revoke your insurance.

The public option must stay, or let’s go further: universal single payer coverage. According to Physicians for a National Health Program, Taxes paid for 60 percent of national health insurance in 1999 alone. At this moment the government expenditure for healthcare is 2.5 trillion in 2008 according to the US Department of Health and Human services. That could cover everyone, while reducing the deficit by its savings.

Clifford Cawthon

Artvoice reserves the right to edit letters for content and length. Shorter letters have a better chance at being published in their entirety. Please include your name, hometown, and contact number. E-mail letters to: or write to: Artvoice Letters, 810 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

blog comments powered by Disqus