Monday, September 10, 2007

George Was Supposed to Raise, not Raze the World

President George W. Bush speaks of lofty goals, yet falls well short on delivery. Democracy in the Middle East remains in prolonged "birth pangs" with the infant's life in jeopardy. Domestically 47 million people have no, as in zero health insurance. This number is guaranteed to grow dramatically as business bails on its traditional employment benefit. Both examples are part of the Republican mantra of strong defense and free markets.

Yet free markets have American businessmen (who fund U.S. politicians) all pursuing the lowest common denominator, with the main exceptions CEO and investment manager's pay. I've heard several folks speak lately about the burden of employer sponsored health insurance on businesses. A U.S. Congressman mentioned it in his open house while a retired CEO of a large for-profit hospital chain lamented on behalf of his industrial counterparts.

Rather than look to European countries or Japan (against which we also compete), Republicans look to China and other "low to no benefit" countries as justification for dumping health insurance as an employment benefit. Notice there is no encouragement to lift the slackers up. The U.S. "needs" to lower itself to remain competitive in global markets.

Oddly, the for-profit CEO painted a bleak picture for the future of "private" health care, complete with hospital bed and doctor shortages. I thought that was the outcome of "government run" health care, not free markets. It turns out training doctors and building hospital beds is alot like discovering oil. It takes a lot of money and a long time. Something the current administration has no, as in zero plans for.

Despite this bleak future, Mr. Shelton won't pay a penny more on his $40 million proceeds from the recent sale of Triad Hospitals. He wants more inefficiencies wrung out of the system before raising taxes on the rich. Yet, 700,000 more kids became uninsured and 1 million more employed adults lost coverage the year Denny negotiated his big sale.

Over 7 million new uninsureds, over 4 million displaced Iraqis, President Bush, you were supposed to raise, not raze the world.

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