While President Bush made the bogus claim Friday that SCHIP will actually move "millions of American children who now have private health insurance into government-run health care [and raise] taxes to pay for it," Rockridge Nation points out just how much private health insurance profits cost all of us:
In our current health insurance system, companies can't maximize their profits unless they turn people away. According to Princeton economist Paul Krugman, in any given year about 80% of us need very little medical care. Some aspirin and cough syrup, more or less. But 20% of us have an accident or illness that requires major medical treatment. That's expensive.
Currently, we don't spread the risk and costs evenly. Instead, we have lots of insurance companies all competing against each other to maximize their profits. Which they have—to the tune of billions of dollars a year. But they make their billions by not getting "stuck" with the people needing expensive medical treatment...And we know the result: over 100 million Americans who are un- or under-insured, pushed into the health care cracks between insurance companies by the companies themselves...
We already know that we can have better health care for everyone for less money, if we remove the competition and distrust that insurance company profits have injected into the process. SCHIP is a prime example of just this approach. It demonstrates what we can accomplish when we put lives before profit. Those who voted against expanding SCHIP, know that. That's their fear. And, that SCHIP might become a powerful rallying point toward rebuilding a thriving American community through health care for all.