Over the past few days, I have been inundated with e-mails regarding health reform in America. These e-mails represent the totality of the political spectrum in America. Honestly, at this point, I truly believe that in the end this debate will either be squashed by lies or brought to fruition by smoke and mirrors. Regardless, at its core, health care reform and the provision of universal coverage is necessitated by the very nature of and the role that health care plays in the formation and strengthening of a civilization.
One such e-mail that I received, included a video featuring audio clips from President Reagan; however, the premise of the video was entirely false. Although Ronald Reagan and many others have purported in the past that universal coverage will somehow coincide with the advent of “socialism,” many people are entirely unaware of the intrinsic difference between “socialism” and “social insurance.” Under social insurance, individuals will not be forced to see a certain doctor (as has been proven with example of France, where you have the freedom to choose your GP who refers you to specialists just like in the USA) and doctors will not be forced to relocate; however, they will compete for patients just as they currently do under the flawed U.S. system. It is important to note that the United States health care system ranks 37th in the world, whereas the French system ranks 1st in the world – this ranking is based on independent surveys of patients that seek to understand their overall happiness with their health care system.
Further, although some analysts have argued that by creating a "public insurance option," government will somehow be eliminating the health care "market," I would highly recommend reconsidering whether or not our current system is truly a "free market." Last I checked, a free market is highly dependent upon the existence of real, unaltered supply and demand -- perhaps managed care rings a bell.
In addition, I believe that supporting universal coverage is an intrinsically conservative and Republican based value. Specifically, a multitude of case studies (e.g. Poku, Whiteside, et. al., 2007) have demonstrated the impact that poor health care can have on both governance and national security. I believe that once policymakers on both sides of the aisle enter a truly functional debate, we will finally acknowledge the importance of providing health care for all Americans without exception. This will truly be a testament to American exceptionalism.
It is important to note that the United States already operates two forms of “social insurance” – Medicaid and Medicare. It is of further importance to point out that Medicare makes up 2.5% of the GDP in the United States and that additional health care spending makes up 13.5% of the nation’s GDP – I wonder if policymakers would consider Medicare and Medicaid to be a step towards “socialism” or rather, what it was intended to be, a means of providing much needed care to society’s vulnerable populations? I think that we would all agree that Medicare and Medicaid play important roles in our society and that millions of seniors would be without care if not for Medicare. In addition, millions of children would be without care if not for Medicaid. Now, I'm not saying that these systems aren't flawed; however, I can assure that private insurance is just as guilty for the current health care crisis.
This is by no means an endorsement of H.R. 3200, but rather a reflection on the current debate. I'm tired of not being told how were going to pay for this new era health reform, but I'm just as upset with those on the other side of the aisle who have failed to present a logical, comprehensive response to this country's health care crisis. For how much longer will we need to play host to medical refugees before we start to provide every day Americans with the health care that they need; guess what, Joe the Plumber needs health care just as much as Senator Chris Dodd, the sad part is the public servant gets the golden health plan and Joe the Plumber gets to pay for it. Socialized medicine for the few or maybe its just the way business gets done in Washington. Either way, I don't like it, I won't buy it, and frankly I'm getting fed up.