Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Health Care Debate

There are two things that have dominated the news lately that, if you've been paying any kind of attention, you couldn't possibly miss. The first of these is the recent death of Michael Jackson. As tragic as that is, I think it's dominated the news headlines long enough. The second news item is the continuing debate on health care, which I feel is definitely news-worthy and should draw more attention from both the media and every American.

The health care debate is a very major one and one that will have impact on the lives of almost every American. There are very strong feelings on this issue, and I feel that it is time for a major overhaul of the American health care system. The system is very flawed, especially when it is hard for so many Americans to get health insurance because they have an existing condition that the health insurance company does not want to cover, or because the costs are too great.

Health insurance in this country grows more and more expensive every year, but wages have not. This is a serious problem that needs serious addressing, and it's frustrating when you have people saying to sink the Democratic health care bill so that it can be Obama's "Waterloo". This is an issue that affects every American, especially 47 million uninsured Americans, and you want to use it to destroy the President's re-election? While that's a discussion for another blog, let me just point out health care sank in 1994 for the Clintons, and he was re-elected in '96.

I was listening to the radio earlier today and I heard something interesting that got me thinking about my own feelings on the issue. I don't know who said it, but I heard someone on the radio say that "health is not a right, it's a privilege".

I disagree with that statement. You mean to say that every American has the right to own a gun that can do harm to another individual, but every American does not have the right to medicine for better health? I do believe that every American should work hard to make a living and not just mooch off the system, but some times no matter how hard you work, it's not enough.

A former co-worker of mine made around $1,000 a month. Her husband was laid off do to cut backs and so they lost their family health care plan. This left her to cover her entire family. The health care plan provided by her job was $700 a month! That's right! That left $300 for bills and anything else until her husband could find a job! She could not afford health care coverage! It wasn't her husband's fault that he got laid off, they were just cutting jobs! They were barely making it by, and who knows what would happen if they had some huge car expense or anything else happen.

I think a fundamental flaw is that the health care industry is all about profit. They make money from the monthly insurance payments, but every time they have to cover an operation or other medical expense, that's less many they get to pocket. They're interested in making profit, so what are they going to do? Find ways, a loophole or anything else, to deny coverage of a costly medical operation so that they can keep the money. They want to make a profit, like any other business.

I don't claim to have all the answers, but I think it would definitely be a great help to take the profit out of the health care industry. That would require quite a lot of reform, and it would be really difficult to accomplish, but I believe the health care industry should be non-profit. If it's non-profit, it removes the need for the health care industry to worry about their investors.

My personal feeling is that health care is a right to everyone, if you choose to accept it. I hope that Obama succeeds in reforming the health care industry, but it will probably take a lot more work then what is going on right now. It's not going to be an overnight fix, but hopefully this will be a start.

I look forward to hearing your opinions on this issue.


Dave said...

Health care is a major problem. Though increasing costs have multiple causes, many are rooted in the structure of the system and will not change until the system is overhauled. The healthiest segments of the economy are the funeral industry (as people will always be dying) and the health care industry as people will always being ill. Both continue to have high profit margins, in good times and in bad times as they have a captive audience, a system shrouded in mystery and a client base that is emotionally valnerable when they need your services the most.

Evie said...

The American health care system is embarrassing. We're the richest nation in the world, but rank much lower than many other western democracies on many health issues, such as infant mortality rates, average life span, etc. The system needs to be fixed.