Monday, December 14, 2009

Starting Points

There are a million points of contention between people who support general healthcare reform and those who don’t. But the one I find most interesting is the starting point of most of the pro and con arguments.

Those, like myself, who support sweeping healthcare reforms start from the position that there are lots of people who do not have access to affordable healthcare and the goal is to make it available to them, to everyone. It’s about people first and money second.

Those who oppose HCR, start from the position that any reform must not cost anything. There can be no tax increases, no loss in profits to the pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies or medical providers. Reform, if any, must come without disturbing the monetary status quo. In other words, it’s money first and people second.

This second position really frustrates me because this really is a matter of saying “I’ve got mine, go fuck yourself” to those who don’t have access to proper healthcare. Additionally, there is simply no way to get this healthcare to the people who need it without messing with the financial tradition of the medical-industrial complex as it exists now.

Meaningful reform will have to take away some profit in some sectors to be affordable. While I’d be all for a Ponies For Everyone proposal where everyone could become rich off of healthcare and everyone could get healthcare, that’s not going to happen and we need to prioritize. I happen to want to put people before money as a starting point.


August Rush said...

I think the whole idea is being sold wrong by the Obama administration.

It looks as though they are afraid to touch this topic for fear of fallout if it fails. I am saddened by this as I was hoping for a little more leadership from the President.

I would argue that businesses are being hurt by the extra healthcare benefits that they must provide and that a single payer system could relieve them of this burden and thus keep more jobs here. More jobs here means more tax revenue and would hopefully help increase the ranks of the middle class. Why no one seems to be making this argument is beyond me. This is a pro-business argument. The conservatives would be happy as it would help business and the liberals would be happy as more people would be covered.

I would also make another point. Today, you and I are paying for the uninsured when they go to the ER room. The costs are simply passed through the system and spread out in higher premiums. If we were to pass somekind of meaningful universal healthcare plan, the $1000 ER visit for a baby's earache can turn into a $100 office visit. I would argue that the there could be significant savings in this approach. How much? I dont know as all of the bureaucrats, on both sides, wont talk about those kind of numbers.

And finally, we will not get any type of real reform if we allow congress to debate the details. I know we need congress to pass the laws but we really need a blue chip panel to hammer out the details. There is too much politics involved when congress tries to create the details.

I dont think anything serious or meaningful will pass and I blame Obama for not using his popularity after the election for not being more forceful on this issue. Sad to say, he is acting (not talking but acting) like he is lost on this issue. Too bad, because I dont think we will get another chance.

nancy said...

Great post and great comment.

SarahA29 said...

August Rush -- 100 percent agreed. The money argument is a weak one from anti-HRC people.

We -- those of us who are fortunate enough to be employed, paying taxes and insured -- are already paying for everyone to get treatment. Why, as a consumer, wouldn't I support finding a way to make the whole thing more affordable.

For goodness sake, I never pay full-price for anything I don't have to. Why would I be any less bargain-minded when looking at the healthcare issue. It's much easier to treat a cut with stitches at the start than to pay for someone to be hospitalized with a staph infection and facing amputation of some body part. Ridiculous!