An Expat Life: Nicaragua Blues and Ruse

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Universal Health Care

Why don't we have it?

Really?! Why is America the only nation in the Western world without universal health care for its citizens? Why is our infant mortality rate higher than that of Nicaragua? Why is our life expectancy lower than Cuba's?

These are just some of the points raised by Michael Moore in his recent film, Sicko, which examines the health care crisis in America. And when I say crisis, I cannot stress the word nearly enough.

1. I know, I know, you say universal health care is 'socialism'.... Perhaps....
But how about our police force, our firefighters, libraries, postal service?? I think most would agree that our firefighters' valiant efforts during 9/11 were not impeded by some 'socialistic plague' of indifference caused by a lack of capitalistic drive. The same can be said about this nation's police force. While less than perfect, our police force performs remarkably. Our nation's libraries operate as a not-for-profit service that all Americans are eligible to enjoy.

So, if we agree that free public safety and reading are 'understood rights' of Americans, why not healthcare?

2. It costs too much. We are already paying too much. As premiums rise, services have dwindled. People are now 'too young', 'too fat', 'too old', and 'not sick enough' to obtain treatment for conditions and maladies. Legal loopholes are sought, pre-existing conditions scrutinized by teams of medical experts, employed by the insurance companies, with the sole purpose of establishing denial quotas. Often times, these tactics are utilized in a war of attrition that paralyzes the insured, until it is 'too late', when early treatment could've prevented worsening outcomes.

How can countries like France, United Kingdom, and Canada all afford healthcare, and we cannot? Why can't we eliminate the overhead of insurance claims, designer drug 'marketing', billing departments, etc?

3. The ethical question. It's as simple as this. The American health care system is run for profit, not health. The systems in Western Europe and Canada are run for health, not profit. Our priorities are reversed. Thankfully, our police and firefighters don't operate under a 'for profit' basis.

Can you imagine a society in which you have a house fire, and instead of immediately calling '911' for the proper help, you first fret over whether your 'firefighter insurance' will cover the expenses of the trucks, hydrants, manpower, and resources used to combat the blaze. Then, in the end, you may be retroactively billed thousands of dollars because of a 'pre-existing condition' within the foundation of your house, determined by a team of 'building specialists', contracted by your 'friendly' insurance company. All the while, you have paid premiums in a timely manner for this 'safeguard' against catastrophe.

Somehow, our 'socialist' government has gotten it right with the police and, it is time for Americans to enjoy government health care. The person that offers the best answer to this question will inevitably get my vote in 2008........even if that means Hillary.

As always, your comments are encouraged....
see Michael Moore's health care proposal here.

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