Who profits from the insurance debate?

Presidential candidates and the private sec- tor weigh in on the health insurance system.

Today 47 million Americans of all ages don’t have health-care insurance. That number, as well as the growing number of unhealthy Americans, illustrates the need for a revision of the country’s health-care insurance system.

It’s not uncommon for college students to fear graduation simply for its health implications. And for other uninsured Americans, living without health insurance is a constant risk.

Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) announced the health-care insurance plan she would implement if she becomes president. She would essentially combine the private-sector health insurance companies with a public network. The cost would still rest on the individual, but the federal government would provide tax credits to those who would need it. The plan would pit the private insurance providers against a government insurance provider in a supply and demand marketplace duel. It offers the tempting hook of letting the people choose. If we choose the government insurance plan, we must want a universal plan like Canada and Europe.

But this is an easy out. In America, we like choices. If we have to choose between choices and no choices, we’ll pick choices. And that means Clinton might win one more vote. Clinton and other presidential candidates seem to be interested in only amassing votes, rather than making the major reforms this country’s health care system needs.

Last week Mayo Clinic released the findings of an 18-month, 400 expert panel’s proposal to improve the health-insurance system. It included universal health care provided by the private sector, rather than the government. Individuals would pay for the plan; employers could cover some of the costs; and for people who can’t afford it, the government would provide assistance on a sliding scale.

But, just like now, that plan doesn’t keep the private companies from trying to turn a profit.

Whether it is politicians vying for a new role or institutions in the private sector in the position to earn a profit, those 47 million uninsured Americans are being used for personal benefit and profit gain.