This Health Care Debate is Making Me Sick

Talk about hypocrisy and incompetence! It is embarrassing and sad to see such a serious issue as health care treated in such a political and cavalier fashion. Both sides of the issue seem determined to use the worst of leadership and management techniques to smother national health care with a blanket of stalemate. In the meantime 50 million Americans have no health care services at all and scores of millions more are provided with only inferior coverage. A country that prides itself on offering its citizens the right of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” should be ashamed.

Typical of those who oppose health care for all Americans (although they will not admit such) is Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) who disingenuously suggests that he is against national health care because, “it will result in health care being rationed.” What, you don’t think it is being rationed today?

Health care is being rationed today, not based upon how sick you are, but by how much money you have to pay for it.

Ask yourself this simple question: How many of the people fighting so aggressively to prevent all Americans from having basic health care are without health care themselves?

Certainly not the senators or congressmen trying to confuse and delay the passage of national health care. Certainly not the insurance company executives who see national health care as a threat to profits. And, I would be willing to bet that not one of raucous demonstrators at town hall meetings who are being paid by the Republicans or their front organizations to disrupt and prevent any real debate on health care, are without health care.

It should be noted that this brouhaha at local town hall meetings is a clear indication that the opponents of health care are desperate and believe they are losing the battle. Were it not true,  they would not sink to such guttural tactics.

As with any emotional issue – race, religion, gender or class – fear is always the most powerful weapon used by the opponents of progress. The national health care debate is no different.

In the case of national health care the lever of fear being used is the dreaded “government involvement.” People are being threatened with the specter of some distant government bureaucrat deciding if a mother’s sick child should receive the care needed to save his life. Fear mongering at its best! Like bureaucrats at insurance companies or health care systems don’t fill that role today? How many times have we seen examples of insurance companies not willing to pay for a specific procedure or private HOMs chastised for declining needed services?

Besides, private-government partnerships have been the staple of our society for as long as the country has existed. The government is involved in almost everything we do. After all, the purpose of government is to support and assist it citizens; be it security, protection of rights or accomplishing social goals. It is a tradition in this country for the government to partner and support the private sector in achieving any national agenda.

Don’t tell me government involvement is always bad and something to always avoid. If you have ever purchased a home, the government assisted you by allowing you to deduct interest payments from taxes due. If you have ever purchased life insurance, the government helped make it a better product by declaring death benefits to be received income tax free. If you save money for retirement in a 401K plan, the government assists you by allowing you to exclude funds put in the plan from current income taxes. At the same time, your government does not tax any employer contribution (while allowing the company to deduct the payment) and allows the funds to grow tax-free. If you have health care coverage at work, the government does not tax you on the premiums paid by your employer nor are you taxed on benefits received.

Why should the approach to providing health care to all Americans be any different than has been the history of public-private partnership to accomplish social objectives? Why do those opposed to national health care raise such a  phantasm of fear when it comes to this issue? In all honesty it comes down to the selfish hypocrisy of not wanting others to have what they have.

Medicare is an example of the government assisting in the providing of health care. It is a system that allows millions of senior citizens to receive care from private facilities paid for by the government. The system is not perfect, (what system ever is?) but most would say the program has been effective and what person who has no coverage would ever complain or refuse it?

And the moral of the story …

As I have written before, the opponents of national health care have been successful in diverting the debate away from the real issue.

If they were forced to debate the real issue – Do all Americans have a right to basic health care? – the debate would be over. All the obfuscation, fear and scare tactics would be exposed for what they are.

As in all cases, be it private or government, once there is agreement and consensus on an objective, the rest is easy. It is okay to debate how something should be accomplished and how it should be paid for, but in the case of the debate over whether all Americans have a fundamental right to basic health care makes me sick.

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One response to “This Health Care Debate is Making Me Sick

  1. Stephen Campisi

    I am enjoying your website after only 1/2 hour on it. Looking forward to reading more.

    I don’t follow your logic on the “real issue” about healthcare – “Do all Americans have a right to basic health care?” Following that logic, don’t we all also have a right to food and clothing and shelter and love? We need all of those to survive – perhaps more than we need health care. So the second question comes to mind: “Who is going to pay for all of this?” Perhaps there’s even a third question: “Who defines what ‘basic health care’ means?” Not sure there would be a consensus on this, but I would venture a guess that our expectations would increase as time goes by – just look at our current standard of living, where the people we consider “poor” today were considered middle class just one generation ago. With that in mind, we can look forward to an entitlement of “basic health care” as something that could bust any budget.

    So, I’m not sure this is as simple as you may imply. At a basic level, I think we all agree that everyone should be able to be treated for their health care, and we all agree (even if begrudgingly) that almost everything is scarce to some degree – there are no “free goods.” So, of course you are right that everything is rationed in one way or another, and rationing is not necessarily bad – as long as the rationing is itself “rational” and just. But the question then is: “Who determines what is just?” Again, not so simple as it may seem. Good intentions are wonderful; they’re also the paving material for the road to… well, you know.

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