Wow, it's good to be back! I just moved to a new house and haven't had internet for almost two weeks! Being a tech head, that's a tough pill to swallow haha. But alas, I'm back, and I'm happy to see the debate has been alive in my absence. Moving forward, the healthcare debate with New Conservative Generation will continue, and we'll be talking about a bunch of current events so stay tuned!
There is absolutely no doubt that healthcare reform will be an extremely expensive endeavor. No matter what course we take, be it 100% “socialist” or 100% “capitalist,” any major reform will cost more money than the current system because an entirely new infrastructure must be designed and implemented. Thus the debate in my opinion is a matter of prioritizing Americans over the American dollar. According to the National Coalition on Healthcare, approximately 46 million Americans do not have health insurance. Those who do have health insurance primarily receive their coverage through their place of employment. However, studies show that premiums have increase just shy of 120% since 1999, causing many employers to limit the coverage they offer or stop offering healthcare all together. With our standard of living steadily declining due to decreasing annual incomes, the number of uninsured will continue to increase. The worst-case doomsday scenario shows that up to 66 million Americans will be uninsured if we remain on our current trajectory.
One of the biggest problems with the healthcare debate is the notion of whether or not all Americans should have some kind of coverage, regardless of who is providing it. There are many people who truly think things are fine the way they are, and if you can’t afford insurance for any reason, tough luck. This is absolutely unacceptable. The fact is, more access to healthcare in time will decrease costs. This is because more people will address illnesses because they reach critical mass. It is an unrealistic notion to assume once universal healthcare is passed, the emergency rooms will be flooded the next day. In fact, it would be the opposite – the empty clinics will once again have customers! In border states, many people travel to Mexico to get significantly cheaper healthcare. When Americans have access to healthcare, they will see traditional clinic doctors. This will lessen the burden on emergency rooms and save money there. This will also decrease the burden on Free Health Clinics, who rely on donations and volunteers to stay in operation. Also, ER doctors are required by law to treat anyone who comes to the ER. The patient will still receive a bill, but they don’t always pay it. Those expenses are passed off to you, dear taxpayer. There are a lot of savings like these that cannot be included in the Congressional Budget Office report because they cannot include projected savings, only actual savings on the ledger lines.
When talking about access to healthcare, we must also talk about the converse – denial of healthcare. While my worthy opponent CGen has, to a certain extent, denounced the claim of “death panels,” there are still many others who believe a government option would decide when to “pull the plug.” My question is, does this not happen already to some extent with private insurance? Our president’s own mother fell victim to the denial of coverage due to a “pre-existing” condition. And while we’ll never know the truth behind the insurance company’s decision not to cover her medical costs, doesn’t it stand to reason that a cancer patient with limited window of life expectancy would cost money the insurance company doesn’t want to pay? Now we can’t be too presumptuous here, only President Obama, his mother, and the insurance company knows the facts of this story. Still, these kinds of things happen every day. It has happened to people I know. People who have insurance don’t get proper treatment because the insurance companies find any way to not pay your claim. The right talk about the fear of your claim going through endless review from bureaucracy, but how is that any different from calling your private insurer, and having your issue moved up to tier 1, then tier 2, only to find you have to call billing and support, who then send you to tier 1 support, then tier 2 before they send you to their manager who informs you have to call the first number you called…
Many opponents of universal healthcare are saying something to the tune of “I’d rather see no healthcare bill passed than this one.” I don’t understand why so few on the right is talking about making this bill better rather than question whether or not such a bill should exist. Again, it is all about priorities – The American, or the American Dollar. I know we have the intellectual brainpower in this country to develop a plan that reconciles the need to ensure all American citizens have some kind of insurance while finding a way to curb the cost over a decade. That’s not what are conservative counterparts are talking about however. They are talking about reforming a system that they still give significant tax breaks to, that will continue to jeopardize the well being of American citizens in order to line the pockets of those who really control access to the system – private enterprise. If conservatives argued that we were trading one kind of control (private enterprise) for another (the government), then there would be consistency in their argument. However, the primary deniers of healthcare come from the very industry they are standing up for – private insurance. That is why we need some sort of public option to a) offset the balance of power for big business and b) dissuade private enterprise from cheating Americans out of the coverage they paid for with a competitor that will provide at least the basic services without question. Access to healthcare is the short-term and long-term solution to the healthcare crisis.