Jul 2, 2009

Brother, can you spare a CAT Scan?

Alternative title: Will work for Meds.

I’m constantly amazed at how we tout ourselves as the greatest nation on earth, (debatable) and yet are so divided on the concept that we should be providing adequate, affordable health care to all of our citizens. A Great Nation takes care of its people….. all of its people.

For all the talk, we never really get to the heart of the debate. It’s not over HOW we will provide health care for all our people. It is really about WHETHER we should. But Republicans can’t say that. They are politicians after all and the uninsured vote counts the same as an insured vote.

The right wing believes in the fundamental principle that everybody should “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps”. In their minds the uninsured, and the under insured, are getting exactly what they deserve for not bettering themselves. They reason that if someone wants good health care, it’s there for the getting. Just get yourself a good job, like they did.

The arguments they make are laughable.

“Access to health care providers will become difficult.”. Unnecessary tests and over prescribed medications are symptoms of a system where those with coverage get a disproportionate share of the care. Will you have to wait a little longer to get that MRI? Maybe, but shouldn’t you have to if the reason you need it is not life threatening. What has made it available to you at a moment’s notice is that those without access aren’t in line. Again, this argument assumes that somehow the insured have earned the right to be at the head of the line.

“This will be the first step to socialized medicine”. There’s that scary “s” word. Truth be told, we already have socialism. No, really, I’m serious. You see the basic concept of socialism is that you collect from the few to benefit the many. Ever hear of taxes? Do you think you directly benefit from everything your tax dollars go towards? You don’t. Welcome to socialism. But somewhere along the line we decided that certain things were a collective obligation on our part. I think health care for all qualifies.

“We can’t afford it”. Actually we can’t afford not to do something about it. The health care industry has become a victim of the greed culture that has prevailed in this country over the last twenty years. The US pays more for health care than any other country in the world. Is our care significantly better than these other modern nations? No. We have turned health care into a profit making machine that has grown out of control. We are an aging nation with high unemployment. Doing nothing about this problem will cost us more in the long run.

45 million Americans are uninsured. Another 25 million are considered under-insured. So many of us are one job loss and one major health catastrophe away from losing everything. If you're not, then you're lucky, or a member of Congress. By virtue of serving as our legislators they are guaranteed health care now and after they leave office. Must be nice. Also explains why so many of them are so out of touch.


  1. Well done Thinker!
    Did you hear Newt Gingrich's argument against public health care?
    'If you aren't satisfied with your private insurer,you can always get another one'..Lord he'p me.
    Of course,if you have a condition that your current provider doesn't cover,(which is basically anything that involves them shelling out money),no other provider is going to take you on.
    Must be nice to sit up there in your ivory tower with guaranteed medical benefits for life,.eh Newt?

  2. You did a good job summing the situation up. Some people just don't get it even when you smack them in the face with it. Possibly it needs to be shoved up another direction.

  3. Sling - Those damned insurance companies. The insurance executives spend all their time trying to figure out how to insure people that bear them no risk. Too many claims come in and they just write an exclusion. In many ways I think they are worse than the bankers. But they certainly know how to lobby. You gotta give them that.

    Rae - If only that would work. Unfortunately they are not only clueless, they are also motivated to take a firm stand against anything proposed by Obama. I hope I'm wrong but this will be a long hard battle.

  4. you said it all very well. on a recent trip to the UK we figured out our family pays the same percentage of our income in taxes as a friend in Glasgow, and yet he has health coverage no matter what. I have insurance and I still paid $3,000 one bad year for copays and uncovered procedures like acupuncture.

    And you know what, I also STILL wait in line here, it took me FIVE months to get in with a specialist once. I got so sick while waiting I almost went to the ER for treatment, which would cost thousands more. And that's the solution to so many people's problems now....wait until it's a crisis and then get the most expensive care you can find. dumb dumb dumb. I hope this is solved fast, or I'm applying for that awesome job I saw posted in Cornwall!

  5. Private insurance is overly expensive and doesn't cover anything beyond the basics (more than once, anyway). And they spend most of their time trying not to pay claims.

    That is, if they will even cover you, and as someone with a "chronic illness" (meaning I need medication for, well, ever), I can't get any coverage unless its through a group plan.

    The people are there. The politicians aren't. The only way to get them there is constant pressure -- especially on the Democrats, sadly, who seem to be afraid of their own shadow still.

  6. Amen, sistah!!

    Did you see the movie "Sicko" yet? It's excellent--but it made me VERY angry. Right after seeing it, I was all ready to move to Canada or France or somewhere besides here. It is so sad to really realize that this "great" nation just ain't so great in some ways.

  7. Kate - any type of guaranteed coverage is better than what we have now. The cost increases every year. Employers have three choices, cancel, change the plan to lower the coverage or pass the cost onto employees. Instead of focusing on the bad points of other countries' systems, we should be learning from them to implement an even better system here.

    Al - They can and do pull the plug on anybody who actually uses the coverage. What they do is raise the price so high that you can't afford the coverage. They aren't technically denying you but they know you can't afford it. Isn't it ironic that the only people who can get private coverage are those that really don't need it.

    MHP - I haven't seen Sicko but heard it was very good. So many people only become concerned about an issue if it affects them. Truth is it does, even if they have coverage.

  8. Have a look at Michael Moore's "Sicko"...the rest of the 1st world had FREE health care...FREE... the biggest cause of homelessness in the U.S is chronic illness...that is awful