Column: Health care reform just makes sense

By Gus Bode

This columnist loses his current health care coverage Aug. 1.

Since last August my previous employer, the McClatchy Company, has kicked in $312.33 each month toward my health care coverage. One American company paying more than $3,700 in insurance premiums for someone who has not worked for them in more than a year. That’s America.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said recently on ‘The Daily Show’ that 180 million Americans receive health care coverage through an employer; roughly 12,000 persons a day are losing that coverage.


Labeling the health care reform championed by the Obama Administration as socialized medicine ignores the existing business model. Our current funding method is already a crippling financial burden on employers. There is an exception, of course. Wal-Mart does not provide its employees with health care coverage. In effect, our system subsidizes Sam Walton’s heirs.

When I was president of the Sparta Chamber of Commerce in 2005, we worked on a program to offer health insurance to employees in small businesses. The concept was to bundle enough businesses together to lower premiums. The program would run through local insurance agencies. That is where the project fell apart. The brand name insurers did not participate and the smaller agents had personality conflicts.

Opponents of the Obama plan engage in the scare tactic that it will be government run.’ A governmental official will be making your health care choices instead of the benevolent HMO functionary now trying to have your claim declared a pre-existing condition.

Sometimes the government can do some things better. If you are overseas, would you rather be protected by a Blackwater contractor or a U.S. Marine?

The Congressional Budget Office issued a report last week on the cost of the Obama plan. Too expensive, critics say. Health care is already a tremendous drain on our economy. Action is needed now. Nitpicking reform proposals is just politics as usual. Ignoring the necessity for reform these past eight years has only worsened the patient’s condition. At its nadir, the health care industry started investing in judicial campaigns, including our own Illinois Supreme Court race.

The Obama Administration has effectively co-opted many of the ploys used to fight past reform efforts. Currently they are mass e-mailing supporters to engage in letter-writing campaigns. What is that message?

Forty-six million Americans are uninsured.


Premiums are growing four times faster than wages.

Half of all personal bankruptcies stem from medical expenses.

Principles of the Obama plan are:

‘bull;’ Reduce costs by improving efficiency and investing in preventative care.

‘bull;’ Guarantee every American the right to choose their plan and doctor-including a public insurance option.

‘bull;’ ‘ Ensure quality, affordable care for every American.

It just makes sense.

While waiting for the politics to play out, this columnist found an option to employer-provided insurance by going back to school.

My monthly COBRA premiums are slated to rise to $400 come Aug. 1, so obtaining health coverage through my student fees is actually cost-effective.

SIU ‘- come for the education, stay for the health care.

Mike Springston is a graduate student in the Masters in the Art of Teaching program. He was a reporter for the Daily Egyptian in 1975-76.