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December 7, 2009

My Turn: Don't be fooled by 'lipstick' health care

This week's "My turn" column is by Stuart Anderson.

Washington is up to its old tricks, putting lipstick on a pig and calling it reform.

The Senate's discussing a public option that states can opt out of, so people who really need that public option may have to move to another state to get it.

It's considering a mandate that everyone should have insurance, with subsidies for those who can't afford it, and surcharges on everyone who can afford more than the basics.

It's the way the system works now _ those who pay premiums fund the system by paying bills that are inflated to cover the system's losses incurred treating the uninsured.

The new plan will give the insurance companies more clients and let them cut their one-third slice off a bigger pie.

The House bill squeaked by, and the fact that supporters had to surrender to extortion by the anti-abortion lobby seems to have been shrugged off. The right of women to make their own health care choices, without interference by religious and political groups, was set back 50 years with the Stupak Amendment.

Now the left is licking its wounds with "we'll straighten it out in the conference committee," while the right plans to harpoon both abortion and the public option in the Senate.

As it stands, the current plan has no protections for women's rights, no coverage for illegal immigrants, no public option, a mandate that everyone needs to buy insurance and public assistance for those who can't afford insurance.

What more could the insurance companies have asked for? They're getting moral approval, scapegoats, protection from competition, millions of new customers and access to the public coffers _ it's a great time to be in the health-insurance industry! The last CEO of Aetna's health insurance business made $220,000 per day, 365 days per year, and things are looking up.

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