There is one incontrovertible truth about quality health care anywhere on planet Earth. It's damned expensive. We all know this, liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. There are probably ways you can tweak the system to make it somewhat less painful to pay for, but it still won't come cheap. So when you hear some politician bloviate about health care, assuring you that he or she has a plan that will bring you all the health care you need at prices even the poorest of us can afford, your bullshit meter should be ringing continuously.
You can talk about socialized medicine or private health care, it doesn't matter. It takes a huge fortune to create the miracles of modern medicine. And whether it's the government that's picking up the tab, or it's you the individual that's paying the bill, or it's an insurance company that's taking up the lion's share of the expense, at the end of the day it will cost a LARGE fortune to keep you healthy during the course of your life. PERIOD!
We have to clear the bullshit out of the way so that we can look at the issue head-on and clearly. We have to dispel all illusions and take every assertion with a grain of salt because at one phase or another we all have a vested interest in health care. So, there are no bargain basement plans out there the will give you a heart transplant for a hundred bucks. It's not there, it doesn't exist. Don't let anyone tell you anything different.
Okay, so what's the REAL issue with health care. I've written this before and I'm sure I'll write it again several times over, when you get down to the real nitty-gritty, the real issue is whether you believe quality, affordable health care is a right or a privilege. Once you've made up your mind about THAT singular issue, your approach to health care is pretty much locked in. If health care is a right, then it has to be treated as an entitlement program. Everybody gets it. Everybody pays for it. End of story. I happen to favor this approach, not so much because I'm a dedicated socialist who wants to see the government take over everything, but because I like its simple symmetry. You get sick. You go to the doctor. The doctor submits a bill to the government. The government pays.
On the other hand, you might very well envision health care as a privilege. If you can afford to pay for it, you get it. If you can't you don't. Also breath-taking in its simplicity. From a purely political point of view, regarding health care as a privilege isn't exactly the pathway to popularity and acceptance. Let's face it. If health care is a privilege you have to pay for and you are poor and you get sick, what happens? More than likely, YOU DIE!! Talk about your death panels. The point is that you get the health care you can afford. If you're very poor and you develop pneumonia, well, a hundred count bottle of aspirin costs about a buck. And good luck to you. If you're a billionaire, you can have your very own private physician wait on you hand and foot, as long as you're willing to pay the price.
Sound fair? Absolutely not. Seems somewhat undemocratic? Without question. Realistic? No doubt! This approach only serves to underscore what we already know about life. It's better to be rich. You can afford better food, live in better homes, get a better education, land a better job. Not that you earned it, mind you. That's just the way it is. As so many religious conservatives are quick to point out, Jesus did indeed say that the poor would always be with us.
Trying to sell this approach to the millions of people who will suffer from it is difficult. That's why the Republicans in the United States Senate are operating in total secrecy in formulating their approach to the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. If word got out that this is what they had in store for the millions of Americans who couldn't afford quality healthcare, chances are there'd be such a backlash against it that the Republicans might suffer at the polls, and we couldn't have that.
President Trump said the House TrumpCare bill was mean. He was right. It IS mean. It's also absolutely honest. It's an elaborate tax cut disguised as an alternative to quality, affordable health care. It is going to move the millions of Americans who are presently covered by some form of health insurance into the land of the uninsured! Will it hurt? You bet. People who are getting medical care now will lose it under TrumpCare. Health insurance companies may not be allowed to deny you coverage under TrumpCare, but what difference will that make when you can't afford the premiums on the coverage in the first place.
So, there you have it. Health Care! Right or Privilege? YOU choose! Just be prepared to live with the consequences!!
Filed under: Politics