Image via WikipediaHealthcare in America is a convoluted and complex subject. There are many facets, factions and special interest groups representing many different points of view. Some would have you believe that any material change to our present system will result in the end of the republic. Others posit that radical change is the only socially conscious choice. Still others including the administration seek a middle ground that keeps the insurance companies honest and provides coverage options for all Americans.
With over forty-five million American citizens uninsured and many more under insured, it seems apparent to me that the system we have now is failing a large segment of the population. During the campaign both candidates postulated when asked that health care and education were fundamental rights. That said it seems apparent that they should both be within reach of every citizen regardless of their economic status.
One of the fallacies that negate the benefit of capitalism is the introduction of false moral choices brought about by greed and corruption. Typically, these choices are cloaked as conservative principals like deregulation, free and fair competition, ideology driven by PAC contributions and a greed is good mentality. The mantra is that all the profits generated by an unrestrained and unregulated capitalist system will trickle down to the less fortunate through the largesse of the conservative illuminati. Meaning that if we just wait the uninsured among us will eventually have medical insurance bestowed on them by some generous benefactor yet unknown to them.
As long as we have, a congress and senate filled with professional politicians meaningful change will be hard to come by. With long tenure comes an attitude that longevity in office and self-gain outweigh their fiduciary responsibility to their constituents. They will pander to the insurance companies and ignore the fact that their own medical coverage is a privilege obtained by virtue of the office to which their citizen constituents elected them.
Those who would see the advent of socialized medicine are just as wrong on the other side of the equation. Something for nothing never produces a high quality something. A system devoid of profit is a system devoid of incentive. Insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers deserve a return on investment. There needs to be an incentive for research and development of new medicines and medical procedures. Our goal should be the highest possible quality at a fair and equitable cost, which produces a fair and incentivizing profit.
Zig Ziglar is known for saying “if you help enough other people get what they want, you will get what you want.” Zig is a well-known and respected salesperson, sales trainer and motivational speaker. That quote is usually related to the sales effort but it is just as apropos in this situation. If we as a nation solve the healthcare dilemma facing us before it becomes a budget-busting conundrum incapable of being solved, the benefit accrues to us all.
Knowing that a true change of heart in our political leadership that leads to a fundamental paradigm shift is unlikely, what we have left is a popular demand for thoughtful compromise. We should insist that some kind of basic and catastrophic medical coverage be available to all people, even the homeless indigent. We should expect and insist that preexisting conditions be covered by every insurance company without exception. We should demand that the patient in conjunction with the doctor make decisions about tests, treatments, medical procedures and medications, free from any constraint or review by the insurance company.
Additionally, all hospitals, urgent care facilities, labs, and medical providers should be mandated to produce itemized plain language bills for patients to sign off. There is far too much fraud institutionalized in the healthcare system. It is rampant in the billing practices of a majority of medical providers. Also, we should accept and expect some limited tort reform regarding malpractice lawsuits. In cases of egregious negligence, legal remedies are necessary and appropriate. In cases of honest or simple mistake, damages should be limited to the actual damage and punitive damages forgone.
Any country as capable, inventive, courageous and as intellectually gifted as the United States should be able to reform healthcare to the benefit of all the stakeholders. In the process, the life we save might be the one of the little girl who someday cures aids, or the little boy who grows up and cures cancer. It is not only our collective present but also our collective future that we are trying to improve. Someday we will all be judged by our contributions to humanity. Our net worth will not be a function of dollars and cents but rather kindness and consideration for others.
This is an issue of vital interest to every American. The healthcare of your children and other loved ones is at stake. You cannot afford to sit back and let the politicians and insurance companies decide this one. Time is limited, the special interest want some minor reforms quickly so they can get this issue off the table and out of the public eye. Make you opinion known. Call, email and write your state and national representatives and tell them what you want them to do about healthcare. It is your right and responsibility to direct your elected representatives in the performance of their duties. Remember the government you get is the government you deserve.