Health care in the United States is broken. Every individual deserves access to health care both preventative and emergency. This is a wealthy country, and the idea of letting people die for lack of medical access is unthinkable.
Let’s start with a few premises on healthcare:
- Healthcare is a human right
- It is in the interest of society to satisfy this right in the most cost effective and efficient manner
Let’s get past the rhetoric and look at the facts:
- Over the past 15 years, health care costs have increased on average at double-digit rates, far out-pacing inflation. This rate of growth is unsustainable, and is quickly becoming one of the largest single costs for individuals and corporations alike.
- An uninsured person visiting a doctor pays a rate that is nearly double that of an insured person FOR THE SAME DOCTOR. This is the person that can least afford to pay such outrageous rates.
- Uninsured people, unable to visit a physician for preventative care, must resort to emergency room care which is orders of magnitude more expensive that preventative care and results in uninsured people not catching major diseases like cancer that are treatable early in the illness.
- One major reason that insurance is so expensive is that the insured subsidize emergency care visits from the uninsured, who typically have no means to pay for such a visit.
So what can be done about it?
There are three angles to attack this:
- Universal health-care coverage
- Cost reduction
- Obesity management using hcg drops
Franklin and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican no less, have proposed mandatory universal medical care for all California citizens. It relies on a combination of individual contributions, public funding, and corporate subsidies. I think that’s absolutely the right way to attack this. It doesn’t rely on nationalization, and it spreads the responsibility fairly.
Healthcare coverage needs to be universal and mandatory. Otherwise, there will continue to be cross-subsidies and a reliance on reactive care, which is far more expensive than preventative care.
There are a few prerequisites to implement mandatory universal healthcare coverage.
First, corporations need to provide healthcare to employees on reasonable terms. Before you get up in arms about that making the US uncompetitive, in Japan, which is an incredibly competitive nation and exporter, healthcare is provided for all employees at a dramatically lower rate than in the US. The US just needs to get the costs down.
Second, individuals and families who can afford it should chip in and bear part of the cost of their healthcare. Personally, that means that I will have to pay my fair share, which I can accept. On the other hand, people who can’t afford it should have a government subsidy for their healthcare premiums. And people in the middle will get a mix.
Universal healthcare coverage doesn’t necessarily mean equal coverage. This is a capitalistic society after all. There will still be high-end doctors for the wealthiest people, and the average person may still not be able to afford that. That’s fine, and not too different from today. But the average person WILL get access to quality physicians, and that’s the important point.