Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Rare Defense Of Obama - Universal Health Care

In general I don't like progressive agenda because it is actually "expensive agenda" and seems to me that things are best done when the government stays out of it.

But in the case of health care, (forgive me Wellsy) I have to agree with the Administration, and I have to believe that Universal Health Care should be the American policy. The reason is this: kids all over the country are sick and dying because they can't afford health insurance.

I sit here, firmly entrenched in my cushy, upper-middle-class job, and it'd be easy for me to sneer down and say "health care in this country isn't a problem" because my employer pays 100% of my health care costs. I have to pay a pretty hefty amount to keep Mrs. TAE and T.A.D. insured as well, but still, if either of them was in a terrible accident and needed hundred of thousands of dollars of work, and weeks in a hospital, I'd simply pay my deductible and sit back and request every possible procedure. The truth is, I complain about my monthly insurance premium, but I have it pretty good. I got my teeth cleaned a couple months ago and didn't pay a dime. My wife just got a root canal and it only cost me $138.

But not all (actually hardly any) Americans are so lucky as I. They either have less coverage or no coverage at all. If my family had no dental plan, Mrs. TAE's root canal would have cost us $1,380. There is a reason poor people have less teeth. And it's not just the Mountain Dew.

The reason I think Universal Health Care works for me is because although I am a conservative and I love freedom, I love Jesus even more, and I understand that as a Christian is it not only my duty, but my priviledge, to take a small tax hike in exchange for massively helping the welfare of my underpriviledged fellow Americans. Although I am a conservative and hate fiscal waste, I hate seeing humans suffer needlessly even more.

One might argue that the government could not possibly run health insurance as efficiently as private companies, and I would not disagree. But the government will not run it as a selectively applied, for-profit, greedy empire of deceit that only funds research that proves vaccines are effective, or only covers knee replacements if the patient has a 2-year documented history of pain. The government does not have an annual shareholders meeting, where the CEO must explain why profits are up or down, and government health insurance would be held to a higher standard of equality (and accountability) than privatized health insurance. The government can't lobby itself!

Would universal government health insurance be cheaper? Most likely not. But would more people in the country benefit, and would more Americans be healthier in the long run because of it? Most likely yes.


1 comment:

Benjamin Dueholm said...

Would universal government health insurance be cheaper? Most likely not.

Obviously the devil is in the details here--it would be hard to get a prescribe-them-all-and-let-the-accountant-sort-them-out culture of third-party paid healthcare to change in favor of something more rational. But all the evidence I've seen is that single-payer is actually a lot cheaper than our present system. We spend about 15% of our GDP on health care costs. That's 150-200% what other rich countries spend, all of whom have some version of universal coverage. And, as you imply in your last sentence, they generally have better health outcomes.

This is genuinely a situation in which the decent, compassionate thing to do--make sure everyone has the access to care that you and I and our families have--is also the efficient thing to do. It will be pro-business, too, in that it will lower payroll costs and allow people to start businesses who would otherwise be too afraid to leave a job with insurance. And it will cut the immense costs associated with overdependence on emergency care and so forth. The main people who will hurt are insurance companies, who happen to be very politically powerful.