HMOs Attempt To Feed At The Taxpayer's Trough


Remember when the Republicans were crowing that allowing Medicare recipients to join HMOs would revolutionize the health care industry? Remember that they claimed that the HMOs would provide even better care at a far lower cost, thus saving the federal government billions of dollars? Remember, also, that the Republicans have stated as one of their goals dissolving the Medicare system because of its "Big Government" appearance? Want to guess how well the HMOs are faring in the business of providing care to America's older citizens?

The HMOs are, as anyone with a shred of sense knew from the beginning, now demanding higher payments for their services or they will refuse to provide Medicare patients with policies as of the end of 1998. Wow! What a news flash this turned out to be. Why, the Republicans have been kneeling before their god of "privatization" for all of these years precisely because Corporate America continually claims that they can provide government services for far less money, so how on earth could it be that the HMO industry is proving so inept at it?

The short answer is, of course, that the Republicans and their masters in the HMO industry never intended to save the taxpayers a dime but, rather, they only wanted to open the federal coffers to Corporate America's greedy little clutching paws.

The long answer is that the HMO's plans all along were to begin providing the health services for the elderly and then, once enough Americans had enrolled, to create the appearance of a crisis by threatening to pull out of the system, leaving all of the seniors with no option but to return to Medicare. This exodus from the HMO plans would thus create the appearance that Medicare costs were soaring and allow the Republicans to whine and complain about the tax dollars that must again go to the Medicare fund. This will give them the opportunity to again lie to the uninformed masses about how the poor and elderly are just ripping off the system and to "reform" Medicare which, as always, is conservative code for destroying the program itself just as they have destroyed welfare and S&Ls and safety of the airline industry and utilities and trucking and on and on. Basically, for those smart enough to see reality, the only true translation of a Republican talking about "reform" is "more campaign contributions from that segment of Corporate America which will gain obscene profits from the act of gifting the various industries with taxpayer dollars".

Gentle readers, do you honestly believe that Corporate America was not aware of the costs and difficulties that the HMO industry would face should they begin enrolling Medicare patients? Do you honestly believe that this was all a complete surprise to the huge insurance groups and that they are truly saddened to have to pull out of honoring their policies because they just discovered that they might possibly lose money in the process? Or do you believe, as I do, that this is simply a tactic to give the Republicans cover while they boost reimbursements to their corporate master in the HMO industry?

Medicare has been a very successful program that has provided needed health care for millions of Americans for many, many years. Its costs and obligations have been well documented and that information has always been available to any American through many of the government's own publications. To even try to convince the American public that the HMO industry is just now figuring out the actual costs to themselves by the act of enrolling Medicare patients speaks far less to the medical community's greed and far more to the appearance of the HMO industry's stupidity.

To allow such blatant theft from the American taxpayer, when Congress does what we know they will do; kneel before their masters and increase reimbursements to HMOs, is absurd and unthinkable. This must be fought by every American who still retains the ability for independent thought (which completely disqualifies Ditto Heads). To allow Congress to shift your tax dollars from the federal treasury directly into the bottomless pockets of Corporate America is the real definition of "obscenity" and "pornography"!

I urge all of my readers to write or call or e-mail or fax their representatives and to demand that no further transfers of your dollars be made to HMOs until the issue has been openly and honestly debated before all Americans and not until the industry can explain why they were so anxious to engage in the offering of policies in the first place inasmuch as they obviously should have known the costs they faced.

I will happily e-mail anyone the message that I have sent to my representatives so that they can amend it and send a copy themselves. You have but to ask.

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Copyright 10/29/98