Thursday, February 15, 2007

Columnist Jay Ambrose Democratically Against Democracy in Action

Conservative writer Jay Ambrose recently wrote a piece attacking Presidential hopeful John Edwards’ health care plans. In it he rants over the aspects of Edwards’ plans that violate conservative policies, tax hikes and mandatory business participation. He calls the democratic candidate’s plans a business crusher while pushing Bush’s tax credits. Unfortunately even the President asserts this would only reduce the nearly 47 million uninsured by 5 or 10%. That gets the number down to 42 million hit sometime in 2002.

Ambrose does compliment parts of the Edwards’ plan, like keeping private health insurers in the profit making loop. While all businesses aren’t as profitable as big oil, health insurers have been making record profits lately. Exxon’s nearly $40 billion bottom line in 2006 compares to total hospital uncompensated care in 2005 of almost $29 billion. One company could pay all the prior year unpaid U.S. hospital bills and still have $11 billion left over.

Jay went on to employ the latest political strategy when attacking an idea, shoot the messenger as well. He highlighted John Edwards’ background as a trial lawyer sending insurance companies and hospitals to financial ruin. I’m not sure what world Jay lives in as private equity money takes for-profit hospital chains off Wall Street. If John Edwards had been successful, Goldman Sachs and The Carlyle Group wouldn’t be salivating over health care opportunities. Believe me Jay, those investment boys are counting on someone covering more people when they conduct future IPO’s for HCA and Triad Hospitals in a few years.

As for the reason John Edwards came up with his plan to cover more than an additional 5 or 10% of uninsured Americans, it’s democracy! Some 80% of Americans want their employer to provide more health insurance coverage and 60% want the dreaded universal coverage that has Jay shaking in those El Paso cowboy boots.

How will those 60 to 80% react to Jay’s aspersions of John Edwards? Will they be offended over Mr. Edwards’ building a $6 million home on 100 acres of North Carolina land? Jay didn’t mention its location. Might it be on the Carolina coast? If so the government has a program to help, federal flood insurance. That covers a need the market won’t touch. So Mr. Ambrose, why is it a good idea for the government to cover wealthy ocean side vacation homes but not ensure every citizen has health coverage?

No comments: