A not-so-liberal reason for universal health care
I’m not a very consistent liberal. Despite voting for both Clinton and Kerry, and opposing the war in Iraq, I disappoint my friends by shopping at Wal-Mart and opposing gun control. (There are lots of other examples but I don’t want to get off-track here.) Universal health care is one of those issues – I’m for it, but not for the usual reason. Leaving aside the curious notion of a “right” to health care, I prefer a greedy, capitalistic “what’s in it for me” approach. We’re spending more on health care than anyone else and getting less for it. In short, we’re being ripped off.
Go read this entry at Stupid Evil Bastard: “The problem of 45 million uninsured Americans hits home. Hard. It seems that one of Les’ cousins died young because of pneumonia – because she didn’t have health insurance. She thought she had the flu and couldn’t justify the expense of a doctor visit …
I hope you will go read the entire article with the comments. Here’s an excerpt:
…I called my mother back to see if there were any more details and that’s when I learned how Debbie had died. It wasn’t a bad car accident, as I had assumed, or a long term known condition such as a weak heart or cancer. Debbie was killed by pneumonia. That’s right. An easily treatable disease that is normally semi-serious to people our age only if left untreated. Debbie had been sick for awhile with what she believed to be the flu, but she never saw a doctor for it because her family didn’t have health insurance and she couldn’t afford to pay for the office visit herself. Her husband is working a newspaper delivery route that doesn’t offer benefits and I believe she was unemployed. Her kids were at home with her when she died. They called 911 first and then they called Diane who tried to talk them through CPR until the paramedics arrived, but it was to no avail. Debbie was gone before the paramedics ever walked through the door. Apparently Debbie never recognized just how ill she was as she never asked her mother for help. Diane says had she realized how sick her daughter was she would have given her the money to go to the doctor, but Debbie assured her she was OK. She wasn’t OK and she ended up drowning in her bed because she couldn’t afford an office visit.
When I heard this I was stunned and angry. My heart breaks for Diane as I can only imagine the pain of second-guessing yourself over the death of your child. So too for Debbie’s husband and kids. I barely know these people so my sense of loss wasn’t immediate with the first phone message, but it hit home once I learned the details of what happened. This sort of story probably happens many times every day in a nation with 45 million people living without health insurance and that’s just insane…
One commenter thought the anecdote was not important to policy questions and that Les should be more “objective.” If you’re unmoved by that tragedy, you just don’t have a heart. To me, being an American involves thinking about the best way to achieve “a more perfect union” and promoting domestic tranquility. In other words, it does make sense to keep unnecessary holes from being torn in the fabric of society. What’s the cost of this kind of travesty? Here’s a partial text of the comment I left on the thread:
…As for the proported debacle of government-led (“It would be a disaster”) health care, you have to ask, has it been a disaster in other countries where they do it? No? You mean those pinko countries are spending less per capita on health care than we are and living longer in the bargain? Exactly. We are spending more and not getting our money’s worth.
Health care for all serves the taxpayer’s purely selfish interest. It gives doctors a chance to spot early warning signs, so it often prevents unnecessary major medical expense. It keeps people working (and thus paying taxes) because it helps them manage chronic diseases better.
As for the danger of an inefficient bureaucracy, what we have in this country is a whole bunch of inefficient buraucracies that can’t communicate with each other: health care providers and insurance companies. The waste – the egregious diversion of money that is supposed to be for health care – is unconscionable…
I included two personal examples of why bad health insurance (and its more-evil twin, no health insurance) aren’t just a hazard of poverty, they’re a hazard to the economy. We all pay when people working low-end jobs don’t have adequate health care – believe it!
The objection might be made that the rich will always have better access to health care and I have no problem with that. If the national policy didn’t cover heart transplants but did cover cholesterol screening, that would be OK.
Please, go read the thread. You’re welcome to be against universal health care if you like but please understand there are other reasons for it than just bigger government.
… “This is the second one we’ve seen in this hospital where the person was injured by the nail gun and didn’t actually realize the nail had been imbedded in their skull,” neurosurgeon Sean Markey told KUSA-TV in Denver. “But it’s a pretty rare injury.”
Lawler was recovering Sunday in the hospital, where he was expected to spend several more days.
Despite his lack of medical insurance and hospital bills between $80,000 and $100,000, Katerina Lawler said her husband is in good spirits…