Archive for April, 2008

About health care costs

April 30, 2008

Polls taken all around the country suggest that Americans regard health care as a top concern. The problem is not one of quality. We all know that American health care providers are as good as any in the world. The problem is accessibility. Too many among us cannot afford to take advantage of the health care services that are out there.Republicans (and not a few nervous Democrats) would have us believe that the answer somehow lies in further subsidizing the insurance industry. Senator Obama would “encourage” us to buy commercial insurance through the provision of subsidies for those who cannot afford to do so. Thus he leaves out all those who choose not to participate. Senator Clinton would make such purchases of commercial insurance mandatory, with subsidies for those who cannot afford to make the purchase. Either way, the insurance companies win with massive subsidies from the Federal Government. And, in case you haven’t noticed, that’s us folks!

Senator McCain, on the other hand, seems to believe that everything is just fine as it is and has no serious plans for changing the current system. He should, of course. As a US senator he has access to one of the finest government sponsored health care systems in the world.

For the rest of us the real answer is so very simple. It is NOT socialized medicine, as conservatives inevitably characterize it, but rather single-payer health care. Doctors and hospitals remain independent. Citizens choose the health care they need, when and where they need it. Everyone is charged a monthly fee (just as seniors on Medicare now do) and the services are paid for out of that fund. In other words, medicare for every man, woman, and child in this great country.

But, without the huge profits that insurance industry executives and share holders currently take from our paychecks.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to profit for entrepreneurs who provide most discretionary goods and services. But health care is not optional. Society needs for all of us to remain as healthy as possible for the simple reason that we are all more productive that way.

Such a plan could be phased in over some period of time, beginning with our children.

The current issue of “The American Prospect” has a special section devoted to this topic that is well worth reading before you cast your vote in November.