Big Business Backing Call for Universal Healthcare - Or Are They?
With two recently formed coalitions made up of now 100's of top name pharmaceutical, fortune 500, and other well known companies; The Better Healthcare Together coalition formed earlier this year by Wal-Mart, and the more recently formed Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform, created by Safeway both advocating healthcare reforms and reducing health insurance costs, it would seem that big business is finally supporting Universal Healthcare. Or are they?
Some critics believe that these efforts by the big corporations amount to very little but a new coat of paint on a house that is crumbling at its foundation, and that programs discussed by these consortiums really do very little to provide affordable health benefits for those that need them most.
Advocates for the poor and working class families, which make up almost one-third of the 47 million Americans without medical insurance believe that the call for required coverage by these coalitions may result in everybody having coverage, but it may also result in minimal coverage at high costs for many people - and increased profits for insurance companies and other corporations.
The key to the ideas being discussed by the two major coalitions relies on so called "market forces" to bring down the costs of healthcare and health insurance. Interestingly enough this is also the cornerstone of Senator Edwards' Universal Healthcare plan. But critics of the market driven model believe that "market forces" will not adjust the healthcare system in favor of the people who are most in need of affordable health insurance, the sick and the working poor. They say that it is these very "market forces" which have allowed insurance companies to select only the youngest and healthiest consumers as policy holders, that have created a growing pool of uninsured and uninsurable people.
The reliance on "market forces" to contain costs as advocated by these coalitions, some believe will result in a Universal Healthcare system that is really a smokescreen for business as usual. They see a system where the Federal Government may mandate low-cost medical coverage, but actually does very little to regulate the practices of the insurance companies that will be called upon to be suppliers of such coverage.
Those opposed to the market driven approach believe there are viable alternatives to providing affordable medical benefits to all Americans, such as a Single payer government run system, but this has taken much heat for years from big business. There is also the hybrid idea such as the one being proposed Yale University Think Tank Healthcare for America which proposes a Medicare like program for those under 65, that competes with private insurers on a level playing field giving consumers real choices.
Certainly the efforts of big business and private insurance companies to try to effect meaningful healthcare reform should be applauded - but some think it may not be such a good idea to rely on those largely responsible for creating the problem to fix it.