Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who was the only Democrat to vote against the House healthcare reform bill, was on MSNBC’s The Ed Show tonight discussing why he voted against the bill. Kucinich said, “I voted against it because it is a giveaway to the insurance companies. They’ll get $70 billion in new business. They’ll have 21 million captive customers.”
Here is the video (Kucinich at the 8:00 mark):
Kucinich explained why he voted against the bill, “I voted against it because it is a giveaway to the insurance companies. They’ll get $70 billion in new business. They’ll have 21 million captive customers. It’s the wrong business model, frankly. I mean they’re in business to make a profit. The government should see healthcare as a service. We have to delink the two otherwise all we’re going to be doing is working for the insurance companies.”
Kucinich disputed that this will be a better deal for the American people, “Better than what? First of all, insurance doesn’t mean you have care, because the insurance companies make money not providing care, and they have the option to keep pricing people to lower and lesser products, so once you start getting into the orbit of insurance companies, it’s just no way that you can be guaranteed anything, except that they’ll keep raising the premiums.”
He also took aim at the health insurance mandate, “I would say that the mandate does something in terms of driving people into the arms of the insurance companies. It’s a bonanza for Wall Street. It’s an extraordinary moment in our country’s history, where we tell people that the only choice they have is to be able to go and get their insurance from a for profit insurance company, and if you don’t buy it, you pay a penalty.”
Kucinich said that the public option only covers 6 million people, and doesn’t offer any competition to the insurance industry. Kucinich advocates a single payer government run system. He wants to completely abolish the for profit system, so any bill that is short of being a single payer system is not cut it with him.
In an ideal world it would be great if we could completely fix the current healthcare system, but the reality is that a single payer system is opposed by most of the Democratic Party. The Democrats are never going to pass a single payer government run system. Establishing a new system would take a decade or more. This means that the current situation would get a lot worse before it got better.
I like Dennis Kucinich, but I that he is being unrealistic on this issue. Reform has to begin somewhere. The most important thing to me is getting the change started. I think any public option is a giant step in the right direction. If the public option is effective and popular, it will grow. If it isn’t effective, it will be gone. A single payer government run system is an almost impossible sell to the American people. We may get there someday, but we aren’t there yet.