That’s Not What I Call “Care”

I have to ask:  Why is it such a big deal to want everyone to be healthy?  When it comes to deciding which things in life should be given only to those who can afford it, and which things should be accessible to all, I don’t see why basic health care should be only for the rich.  I understand why the rich have yachts and the poor do not.  That’s fair: they worked hard, they built wealth, they spent it as they choose.  But if we have police, paramedics and fire fighters for public safety, and we have parks and libraries for our enrichment, and our roads are paved and our schools are free, why should the rich be the only ones with access to regular doctor’s check ups instead of urgent visits to an overcrowded ER?

I don’t know if it’s worth even getting into this point, but I wish people would remember that with a large population not receiving preventative health care (and I believe our national numbers of uninsured are pushing 25%) it puts the entire country at risk of contracting some severe (and obscure) disease.  I’m not even going to get into the whole your-teeth-are-not-a-part-of-your-body-and-don’t-affect-your-overall-health thing.  That just makes my head hurt.  But it’s obscene.

I have mocked the inadequate health care in the United States my entire life; even when I was young I couldn’t understand how a successful, developed, evolved country would allow themselves to cut themselves so short of something so vital.  It makes me ill when I hear people make comments about how “those ridiculous Democrats think healthcare is a right?!?  Inalienable rights come from God, not the government.”  But even though I and my entire family have benefitted by our provicial/territorial-run health programs, since I’ve lived in the States for the past 13 years I can see why, after the paranoia of the 50’s, Americans are hesistant to follow the pattern set by the rest of the developped world.  (oops, had to delete a sentence right here.  Too little fact and a little too much sass.)  Okay, so fine.  Let’s keep the broken system and allow the government to fill in the gaps for those who are not receiving care.  Why is it so horrible to have some people covered on a government plan?  Isn’t that better than no one at all?  Personally, I think the whole country should come into the warm, safe arms of Kaiser Permanente, and not a day goes by that I don’t hope that something big will happen at Paul’s company and they’ll switch from whoever our Blue provider is this year, to Kaiser.  But I digress.

I’m pretty sure this bill has a million problems with it.  I don’t like the idea that anything having to do with our teeth is considered cosmetic.  I don’t like the idea of my tax dollars paying for elective abortions.  (I think if we have universal health care abortion numbers will go down because those scared young mothers will know that they will have adequate care during this difficult time.)  I don’t know if either of those things eventually made it in the new bill, but if they aren’t I know there will be other things in there with which I disagree.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, it was a good first step in changing a very broken system.  It means that people with preexisting conditions now have the option to be self-employed if they so choose, because they’ll be free to purchase insurance themselves instead of limiting themselves only to finding jobs with a big enough company that has a good group plan.  It means that people like two of my brothers-in-law will be able to access care although they are unemployed (except I hope they’ll be employed before that part of the plan rolls into effect!) giving them a better chance at getting a job because they are healthy.  I don’t think this plan is perfect, but it takes us one step away from a country so divided between rich and poor that we run the risk of losing a large segment of our population, and our precious standing in the international community.

Now, about the cost.  The cost of healthcare is out of control.  It’s been out of control for so long.  It’s why so many people are uninsured or underinsured.  It’s crippling the very people it’s allegedly designed to help.  And it will further cripple our government if we don’t do something.  At the risk of “sounding like a socialist” I’m going to simply say this: the same care doesn’t have the same costs in other countries.  Those people in the “other” countries don’t have their care dictated to them by some governmental organization.  And it doesn’t take a million years to receive such care.  Those are all fallacies propagated by the fear mongers of this country whose determination to shut down the current government just to prove their side is nothing short of anarchy.

My father recently had to undergo surgery for early stages of prostate cancer.  They caught it early because he went to his regular checkups.  He chose the method of treatment after he was given all the options.  He chose the doctor (his doctor, when giving him the options, did not automatically assume that even though he had done thousands of such operations that Dad would choose him, preferring that Dad weighed the options and chose himself.)  He chose the hospital.  It was a very quick procedure from start to finish, the longest period being when Dad was digestion the news and the details, and it was a very empowering one for him.  This is not the picture of Canadian healthcare that the Republicans would like you to believe and Glenn Beck can come and talk to me personally if he would like to argue me on this.  (I have a few choice words I’d like to say to him.)

8 thoughts on “That’s Not What I Call “Care”

  1. When simmered down into just one statement, isn’t this new healthcare bill only forcing people who can’t afford to pay for private insurance to buy it anyway or face a fine? The govt isn’t giving us universal healthcare like Canada, it’s just forcing us to buy health insurance, which we’ve always had the choice to do.

    I’m on the fence over the topic…I could argue either side, but in the end I just don’t really care that much. I don’t think the world is going to collapse, anarchy erupt, or that the govt will ever become so big and burdensome as to care enough to monitor my daily life, despite whatever all the crazies like glenn beck say.

    Lets see what this new plan does. If it helps, awesome. If it doesn’t, well, maybe it’ll lead us to something that does work. The plan definitely has HUGE flaws, but I think they’ll probably get ironed out along the way. Hopefully. Cuz I don’t want the free economy to collapse… 😉

    1. Actually, that’s a pretty slanted summary that leaves out some really key parts. In California, anyway, and it may vary state by state, the income requirements for plans like MediCal have been expanded to include more people because of this bill, and they have written in provisions for plans that cater to lower-income people. What it does is give people who haven’t been previously able to afford insurance an opportunity to do so. But in order to insure everyone, even the most costly (like the chronically ill who are excluded from current plans because of their preexisting conditions,) everyone, even the healthy, need to have coverage. That is why there are fees (which are to be only about 1% of a person’s income) as an incentive to have everyone covered and sharing the costs.

    2. I don’t think I need to tell you that I would prefer to scrap this whole thing and follow the way of the rest of the developed world, but I’ll say it anyway. IT WORKS IN CANADA and everywhere else, it could work here, too!



  2. I think for many, it is one more step towards socialization. Do I think that basic health care should be available? YES! Do I think that insurance companies should have ever been brought into the picture? Maybe, maybe not. I have never done any extensive research.

    But who then, gets to choose what is basic? One would obviously say that an annual check up is. What about baby births? What about 3 months of ICU for a baby that is born too early? Birth control, dialysis, the most advanced cancer treatment? How can a person say “no” to these things when a life is involved. I guess what I am trying to say is that health care anything beyond a quick office visit is EXPENSIVE. How can you pick and choose what is needed and what isn’t?

    Also, if ANYTHING goes wrong, or if the wrong diagnosis is given, or if the BEST treatment isn’t provided, then we can sue. Not everyone does, of course, but enough do that medical malpractice insurance makes it almost imppossible for some dr’s to go into certain fields in some states.

    What does this have to do with what you are saying? (probably not a lot). I guess I’m just trying to say that the problem is even bigger than “should insurance be made available.” I think that personally, we should probably get rid of insurance companies, but that would be impossible to do now.

    It’s like public education (since you mentioned it), back in the early days of the church, the leaders urged the saints to not take advantage of the “free” education offered by the other churches coming into Utah. They said if you can’t afford to send your children to the LDS schools, then to appeal to family or neighbors. We couldn’t very well get rid of public education now, but I wonder what might be different if those early saints had listened and hadn’t been tempted by the “free” word.

    I know I probably sound like I am rambling. I have so many thoughts on the subject of public entitlement. Some is necessary and some has only become so because we have let it become the norm in society. I’m not saying we can go back to the old ways, but maybe the fear for some is that we if head down this path with government health care, that we will end up somewhere that causes us to look back and wonder how we ended up at this point.

    One question, what is the tax burden in general in Canada? I really have no idea. One more, how much R&D on new procedures and development of medical equipment goes on? Again, I truly don’t know. The answer may be more than in the US.

    1. There is a lot of talk about the higher tax burden in Canada and in Europe, but those who have run the numbers (including Steven Hill, author of “Europe’s Promise”) have found that the number are even and in some cases more in favour of the Canadian and European models than the American system. Either way we’re going to pay, either in taxes or in premiums. But if we all pay in to the tax pool, then everyone benefits, and the outcomes are far superior. A healthier population without the risk of bankrupcy due to medical bills is definitely worth persuing in my book. I feel very strongly that everyone should have access to care. Making it unaffordable and being elitists about it seems immoral.
      In MY opinion! (ahhh, the beauty of having one’s own blog. EVERYTHING is MY opinion.)

  3. Yes, one of the perks of taking the time to maintain a blog. Thanks for inviting us to listen in, and for reading my comments. 🙂

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