Originally Published: August 29, 2009 10:01 p.m.
I am extremely disturbed by the recent turn of the health care debate. The ultraconservative media has hijacked the discussion using lies ("death panels"), and diversions ("I want my country back").
If you sincerely love your country, you should publicly reject these tactics and constructively refocus the debate on improving health care for our citizens using facts instead of fear.
Our current health care is a national embarrassment. The United States of America can do better. The current system has given us the most expensive health care in the industrialized world with poor results for citizen health and huge profits for insurance companies. Insurance companies are corporations with the mission of turning a short-term profit for shareholders; they have ZERO incentive to improve public health.
I would greatly prefer a single payer option. As a former small business owner, I am convinced that profit is fundamentally incompatible with health care. We should have a non-profit system that is focused on patient care instead of corporate profits. I agree that the new system should not increase the deficit.
Short of a single payer system, a strong public option is the absolute minimum position I can tolerate. A strong public option would provide competition for the for-profit insurance industry - that is free enterprise in action.
A public option does not mean that the government is taking over health care. If the insurance companies would focus on citizen health instead of profits and quit screwing us when we need them, they would be broadly competitive.
Gary Beverly, Ph.D