Understand, I do not begrudge anyone from earning a profit, nor do I have anything personally against the entrepreneurial spirit. We should all do what we can to better ourselves. However, I am of the position that health care is not a privilege, but a right. As well, I reason that we are all morally obligated to ensure that each of us has access to it. That the United States does not have a national health care program is a major moral failure, and what we have in place is little more than a venue for unethical profiteers within the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
Private charities perform an admirable service, but they cannot and do not replace quality, long-term or day-to-day health care and diagnostic services. They do not provide the equipment and/or durable medical goods that many people require, nor do they provide the necessary follow-up services and continuing care provisions. They are stop-gap measures, much like Emergency Room visits. As well, there are not nearly enough private philanthropists to take this on in similar fashion.
When I became ill, my insurance company dropped me and I was unable to get any health care due to several pre-existing conditions. During the many years I had no access to proper medical care, my conditions – already degenerative and incurable – were allowed to progress, unfettered.
Consequently, in a little over one year after losing my health insurance and trying to keep up with skyrocketing medical expenses, the results were catastrophic. I lost my business (and those working for me lost their jobs), my home was foreclosed, I had two vehicles repossessed and blew through my entire life savings. Yes, I was able to take advantage of some charity, but overall, I was in the wind.
By the time I got approved for Medicare, my unpaid medical bills exceeded half a million dollars. These bills will never be paid, which makes me a permanent debtor with horrible credit, unable to contribute anything even appreciable to the GNP as I cannot get loands, credit cards or anything else that requires payment other than cash. This also increases the costs of health care for those who have insurance. Their premiums, deductibles, co-pays and overall costs are going to rise because of people like me – the disabled.
To those who say that I should “do the right thing” and pay down this debt, I might as well piss into a hurricane. My Social Security Disability income totals about $13,000.00 per year, not inlcuding my Medicare premiums are deducted and allowing for co-pays and deductibles. That is the equivalent of a full time job that pays about five bucks an hour.
With proper medical care, I might have been able to work for another five years and kept others employed, as well. Due to the lack of access to proper health care, I was prematurely thrown into the ranks of the unemployed for the simple reason that I was (and still am) unemployable.
So, the question remains. Should those who are employed (including employers) be mandated with the responsibility of paying higher taxes to shoulder the medical needs of an entire nation, including those who have no way to contribute to the cost of a national health service?
In a word, yes. They should, and they should do it knowing that a healthy society will prosper, but a society that is burdened with insurmountable, bankrupting and mentally debilitating medical costs that are generated by private industry will not.
Social Health Care…
The United States needs a tax-payer funded (single-payer) national health care system. Totally and completely socialized and incurring no costs to anyone beyond what their taxes pay. Those who cannot pay due to disability, unemployment or other circumstances beyond their control should have the same access as those who do.
In my opinion, putting a dollar ahead of the health and welfare of a human being is immoral. National or Socialized medicine should be a no-brainer. The cost to our society in terms of unpaid debt, the inability of those whose credit ratings have been destroyed by medical bills to invest in real estate, private industry and the general product is staggering.
The more debt that is incurred by private citizens who are uninsured and cannot pay their medical bills, the more the costs of health care increases for those who are insured. Unpaid debt raises premiums, deductibles and co-pays because the insurance and pharmaceutical industries operate on a for-profit basis, and when those bills are not paid, it increases their expenses. We all lose in this scenario.
Pay It Forward…
That phrase does not belong to the religious community, but the entire human race. As I stated, I reason that one of the core values of being an American is the ability to improve oneself through independent means, and that the American Dream should remain alive and well and we should do our level best to take care of ourselves. I also believe that those who cannot, should not be made to suffer for it. There should never be any individual who’s life is less important than a number on a profit and loss ledger.
Somehow, with respect to health care, being a healthy American Citizen has become a crap-shoot if access to health care is limited or non-existent. Not providing access to health care would seem to be in opposition to our constitution, which starts off:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Yes, I know there are many people who interpret this in different ways, but consider that in July of 1798, Congress passed a law that authorized the creation of a government operated marine hospital service and mandated that privately employed sailors be required to purchase health care insurance. President John Adams signed it, so anyone who doubts what the Founding Fathers intended should realize that those who drafted this were also the drafters of the Constitution.
Socialized medicine makes sense on every level. It is much cheaper and more efficient than private health insurance. A single payer system virtually eliminates the waste and inefficiency that comes with private health care. This doesn’t even begin to speak on insurance practices that routinely deny needed medical procedures to keep profits up.
I would suggest that the unbelievably obscene amount of money this country is investing in the military be dramatically decreased and those monies be used to help fund a natonal health service. Individual income taxes would still increase, but the hit would be comparitively minimal. Either way, my position remains the same, and that is Capitalism should never be a cause of death.