Saturday, May 13, 2017

Some Thoughts on Health Care and Politics in the United States of America

Some Thoughts on Health Care and Politics in the United States of America

If you are easily offended please stop reading here.  If you would like to consider a non-partisan view of things please continue reading.

Politically speaking, I am a registered independent.  In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, this does not allow me to vote in any primary races.  This is a price that I grumpily accept for not being associated with either party.

I have followed the “health care” bills and politics of these fiascos since the 1990’s.  The situation over the last decade gives me some concern.  To adequately express my concerns, I need to take you back in time to when the Affordable Care Act was passed.  There was something deeply troubling about how this legislation was passed.  It was passed quickly, with the appearance that it was not considered carefully, and it was passed purely along partisan lines.  I deeply suspect this is part of what led to the Democrats losing their majority in both houses.  Fast forward to the present and the Republicans get their turn to be idiots and are in the midst of trying to pass a bill all by themselves without adequately consideration.  I know that it can be difficult, but for the sake of the American people, I would like to see a full debate and bipartisan drafting of a plan to address the issues in the healthcare system in America.

Our country needs to have an honest discussion about what type of health care system we should have.  The present system is a strange amalgam that will not hold together easily.  We could have a universal coverage through the government (many other countries do this, and some do it well) or we could allow the private market to determine things.  We could even have universal government healthcare and allow private companies to compete with the feds.  Imagine giving socialists and rich capitalists what they both want at the same time! (Note, lower and middle class capitalists will lose out on this, but the rich socialists can still buy the best doctors as they do now).

As far as I am concerned, the greatest flaw of the A.C.A. was that it kept insurance companies and required that individuals have insurance.  This is an amazing level of crony capitalism.  Not even in Vladimir Putin’s Russia are people required by law to pay money to a private company for health insurance.[1]  The government then need to subsidize plans and thus the government is also paying (at least in part) private insurance companies for the required insurance of a portion of its citizenry.  And despite these great safeguards of both government and private citizen being required to give money to private insurance companies, there are fewer options for health insurance and cost charged by the companies continues to go up.  This is what happens when you allow the health insurance companies to influence the creation of a bill.  From what I have seen, the Republicans intend to keep this unnatural beast alive and well fed in their bill (with the possibilities of making things more profitable for insurance companies.  I will hold off on full comments until I have read the bill, which like the A.C.A. no one will actually understand what is in it until after it becomes law).  As long as this continues, there will

In any debate, it would be helpful to separate health insurance from health care.  Health insurance can be very helpful for affording healthcare.  Healthcare is not insurance.  Insurance does not guarantee access to healthcare nor the quality of care provided.  Insurance does guarantee effective care. 

I am certain that there are more effective and efficient ways to structure our entire healthcare system than our current model.  Who knows, we could even ask retiring age doctors what would work best on their end of things.  We could even figure out ways to reduce the paper work involved with health insurance and watch thousands of paper pushers inside the healthcare system increase the ranks of the unemployed, thereby reducing the overall costs.  There are a multitude of options that should be carefully considered and weighed.  Congress could take a few years to figure it out.  While they do it, they could even listen to constituent concerns as the bill is being crafted instead of after they passed the thing they did not read.

I honestly do not expect anything I have discussed above to be taken seriously by anyone in the decision making process.  Common sense is often and easily overcome by political clout and money of large corporations, especially when coupled with political expediency.  However, I hope that is has proven helpful

[1] Russians actually have a state run healthcare system for everyone as well as private hospitals that accept private insurance.

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