Sunday, December 10, 2017

Health Care [#2]

#2 Democratic Party Principles
Health Care

Everyone, save the most libertarian or Tea Party of Republican, would likely agree, that in an ideal world, a utopia, every citizen would be provided with health care from cradle to grave.

Only the most ardent absolutist would argue that the man or child brought bleeding to the Emergency Room should be denied life saving help if he has not made an investment in his own or his child's heath care.

If we all agree emergency care should be provided we ought to ask ourselves why? 
We agree on this not only because we might sympathize with the patient in need but because we do not like to think of ourselves as hard hearted enough to turn away a suffering person, to walk by the child drowning in the pond and make no effort to rescue him.

If we feel this way about emergency care, then why do we not feel that way about all medical care which may prevent people from reaching the point where they need emergency care?

Here we get to the idea of the grasshopper and the ants. It's a matter of deserving. Those who will not invest in insurance get what they deserve. That's the essence of the Republican line. We don't owe any human being anything. Take responsibility for yourself.

But if people want to take the risk, that's on them, the Republican argument goes. Thus, no individual mandate to buy health care.

Practically, what that has meant is those who gambled and lost, wind up in the Emergency Room, getting admitted and the whole system sags under their burden.

Then there is the second half of the Republican argument: Government run health care is always inefficient and poorly done; if you want efficiency, innovation, first class health care, the best health care in the world, power it with private enterprise, make it a profit center.

Trouble with this argument is history: Private enterprise has been a dismal failure when it comes to American healthcare. American healthcare demonstrates just the opposite: Compared to the government run systems of Western Europe, American health care is like the American automobiles in the 1960's--dismally low quality. That's why the Hondas and Toyotas blew the American auto companies out of the water. America had become complacent, stopped improving while the rest of the world blew by us. That's where we are with healthcare today.

We keep telling ourselves the fairy tale that we have the best health care system in the world because that means we don't have to do the hard work of changing it.

It also allows the profiteers (big pharma, big health insurance companies) to keep making billions in profit.

Profit is a poison when it comes to running a health care system. Health care should not be a profit center. It is more like electric power, and infrastructure. It should be designed to deliver the greatest good to the greatest number at the lowest cost.

We have examples of the Veterans' health care system,  the military health care system and Medicare. For all the complaints about specific facilities, specific problems, these are marvels of efficiency and models of what American medicine and surgery can be.

We need a system more like England's: You can fly first class, with your private, union insurance or you can fly economy on the national health system, but you get to the same place, when you land in the end.


  1. Mad Dog,
    On this issue, I agree the one payer system is the closest to a long term solution. Yet there are many in the Democratic party that feel this would never sell, so would refuse to embrace it even if they privately believed it the best resolution to the problem. It's like dealing with a man who's been shot-we'd advise removing the bullet once and for all, while others in the party would say that's too extreme-let the bullet remain and treat around it..

    So what is the best strategy- go all in and endorse a one payer system, without widespread public support and the likelihood this would initially lead to Democratic losses. Or continue to try and remedy the current system, since the possibility of people losing even more coverage, should the GOP became stronger, is too much of a risk..I support the former-but it's support with some serious concerns about what this could mean in the short term for a lot of sick people...

  2. Maud,
    You make sense.
    But making sense is so 20th century.
    What I'm talking about is simply saying what you believe and saying, "Screw the people who don't think we can sell it."
    Donald does not care whether people oppose him. He seeks no compromise. Build the wall. Market it.
    If we are going to argue tactics, my argument is go nose to nose and shout what you believe in the face of your opponent and let the people decide.
    If you lose, you lose.
    Mad Dog