Paying More and Getting the Shaft
The reform of health care in this country has become a causus belli (cause of war). Circling in news reports or on the internet are videos showing lunatics shouting at politicians during town hall meetings as if their visceral reaction is a template for how the rest of America is feeling about the reform. It isn’t. If any of these crazies would take the time to turn their TV off of Fox News and do a little research they would find changing health care coverage is in the best interest of most people in this country.
The first issue someone needs to understand is why would the free market be the best instrument to run health care? Is it good to have a company determine the future of your continuing health care needs? Is there an insurance company out there who really gives a damn about you, especially if you become a profit liability? In other words, should profitability be a component of health? Finally, what recourse does anyone have if an insurance company refuses to cover them?
Many who are opposed to reforming health care and the single payer system cite the fact the US has the best health care in the world. The reality is we don’t have the best care in the world, we have the best medical technology in the world. With much of this technology being developed in universities, this aspect of our health care system will not change if the system itself changes.
According to the World Health Organization the US ranks 37th in overall health, right behind the likes of Morocco, Chile and Costa Rica even though the United States ranks first in health expenditure per capita. As for life expectancy, the US ranks 24th. Why does the US spend upwards of 7% more on GDP for health care than those who have socialized medicine yet get less in return for our investment? The answer has a lot to do with the profit margin. Should we live in a nation where capitalism is the driving force behind the health of our citizens? If we trust the military to protect us (and it is a government institution) then what is wrong with the government protecting us through a single payer health care service that runs parallel to the private one; that acts as a competitor to the current private insurance oligopoly?
The people that are screaming at congressmen in these town hall meetings are not doing a service to anyone, especially the middle class. Shouting down those who represent them is no substitute for open dialogue. Take a lesson from Charlie Rose and not from Bill O’Reilly. There are many of us out there who are waiting for the United States to catch up to the other 26 countries (most of them socialist) whose level of health care is better than ours.