Wednesday, July 29, 2009

American Health Care is Awesome...

...if you can afford it.

I am so tired of the American "exceptionalists" who can't seem to get their heads around several concepts:

1. This is not 1949!

Most families have to have two incomes. CEO's no longer make $250,000 a year. Doctors in most of America don't make house calls. Unions don't control "jack squat." The average person can not afford to pay "retail" for medical procedures.

2. This is not 1993!

Health insurance premiums are not longer payable and not usually paid fully by employers--even the big ones. Drug costs are expanding beyond the reach of even well-to-do seniors. America is even further behind in cost efficiency of health care and ridiculously behind most industrialized nations in infant mortality.

3. Health Care is not a right, but it is necessary!

Who would deny their child or other loved one a life-saving or life-improving medical procedure if given the opportunity? Sadly, many people have been denied just that by a profits driven health insurance system that survives principally by denying coverage, reducing coverage, or shorting the health care professionals of just compensation on the grounds that it cuts into the bottom line.

I heard Rush Limbaugh saying the other day that health insurance should be a catastrophic care only system like car insurance or home insurance. The problem with that is that hardly anyone can currently afford to pay for ANY health care out of pocket. And who decides what is "catastrophic" or "critical?" Shouldn't citizens of the best nation on the planet be allowed to choose when a medical situation becomes urgent enough to be taken care of. The reason health insurance doesn't work is not because people take advantage of the system. Imagine the nerve of someone wanting to have a PSA or a mammogram just so they can avoid the "inconvenience" of having cancer later in life! Sure, car insurance doesn't pay for oil changes or transmission repair, or additional windshield wiper blades that might help avoid vision problems leading to an accident. But car insurance is also seen by many as a "crock of shit" or a "boondoggle," because the repairs it covers minus the deductibles can be many times less than the premiums paid by the car owner. Oh, and if you have more than three accidents in a given time frame, they can drop you. Would Limbaugh's health care have similar caveats?

The truth of the matter is that we can't afford not to have effective, efficient health care within reach of all Americans. America becomes less "exceptional" every day we don't.