Damn it... this is why I've been involved with that politics discussion list for so long... I can't let a challenge pass.
stockingfull wrote:But what I've been getting at here is that, if there are well over 40 million people without health insurance in this country, we've got a problem that has to be dealt with. And, for that reason alone, we can't possibly have the "best healthcare in the world."
I do not agree. A large portion of those people have medicare/medicaid, free clinics, SCHIP, and many other state run programs available to them. Many of them are young persons who can afford health care but have made choices not to buy it. Single person policies can be had for $150-$300/mo, I know I've gotten quotes within the last few months. That is entirely affordable to all but the poorest, and like I said they have various programs available to them already. Some actually consciously choose to depend on the nearly guaranteed emergency room care safety net available to every person in this country, despite being able to afford insurance and out of pocket doctors visits. The number of people that truly can not afford it and do not have public funded or free services available to them are a small fraction of that 40 million figure that gets bandied about. I'm all for finding ways to either help them pay for insurance themselves or if necessary fund their necessary medical care. I'm also in favor of making existing insurance more affordable and increasing insurance availability and choice. But I reject the idea that we must adopt a sweeping, national universal health care system to achieve these ends, to address the problem of a relative few people.
Besides, don't people realize that, once we get healthcare separated from the workplace, employers won't have to be the bad guys who have to raise employee contributions and co-pays all the time and people won't have to stay in jobs they don't want just because they need the health insurance for their families? It's really a liberty issue.
You really lose me here. What makes you think it would be better to have the oversized, politically motivated, inefficient US federal government be the "one" people have to consider the bad guys when they inevitably have to increase co-pays and contributions and/or reduce coverage (or introduce fixed medical profession salaries, or reduce those salaries, or federalize hospitals, or any number of other common tropes of government run, universal health care systems)? Consider for the moment that one generally can not sue the federal government. Even if the legislature crafts a law/system allowing citizens to sue the government health care system on the basis of denied coverage or other such medical torts, they control how much can be awarded, what qualifies for suit, etc. They'd also have a great deal of control over hospitals and doctors/nurses in terms of salaries and payment, which directly affects their ability to afford malpractice insurance. Indeed, it is likely the government would be forced to get into the business of providing this insurance too. This can not be a good recipe for responsive and accountable health services. And the government is the ultimate "deep pocket". The ambulance chasers and malpractice suit lawyers will absolutely feast on what amounts to a government run, universal HMO if restrictions on qualified suits and damage amounts aren't put in place.
And I will not be held emotional hostage by people who think that they are tied to their job due to the burden of having a family and needing insurance. They have a nation (a world even) of other employment and living options available to them. And even if they are tied down to a job they don't like, tough. Life is hard and it isn't the responsibility, moral or otherwise, for the people or the goverment to take on the responsibility for everyone's medical needs just to make such a person feel they have a more mobile employment situation or life situation. If this is a real problem and a real concern for the nation, then fashion a system based on existing private insurance that allows people to buy their own policy which can follow them from job to job, state to state. Want to decouple employer from insurance, the same kind of scheme addresses that.
Why is it good to keep medical services out of the hands of the government? Because it is better to have the government acting as an advocate for the people in regulating and setting a legal framework for insurance carriers and for the medial industry, natural and necessary tension of interests to keep service quality high and responsive and accountable. If they become both the law makers, the peoples' advocate, and the payor of services and even defacto employer of service providers... that is a recipe for disaster, how i that not obvious?
We need new group health coverage -- and the "group" is the population of the United States of America. If we can shoot down satellites, we're smart enough to study the other programs that have been tried and devise one that works best for everybody.
Unfortunately they are very different problems. Shooting down a satelite is a purely technical act, grounded in the laws of physics limited only by the state of science and technical knowledge and funding to achieve it. Providing "ideal" health care is a much much more nebulous problem to be solved for many reasons, not the least of which is that there are many notions of what "ideal" health care is or what the necessary responsibilies and constraints of any such system are.
I'm all for making the effort at bettering national health and national health care services, but I need a lot of convincing that national universal health care, paid for and administrated by the government and operating in a sea of law defined by that same government, is at all the way to go. So far it strikes me as nothing more than a deeply misguided attempt to put our health, indeed our very lives, in the hands of the federal government. That is antithetical to everything this nation has stood for and is against all good judgement and common sense in my opinion.