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Medicare for All

Filed under: Health Care
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nhs_0_108664While our most dysfunctional Congress continues to debate whether we should repeal Obamacare or not, every single other industrialized nation in the contemporary, modern world goes about its merry way having long ago settled the question, “should all our citizens have access to quality health care on demand, regardless of ability to pay?” The American inability or unwillingness to answer that question in the affirmative with some semblance of unanimity is a failure. 

Obamacare is by no means perfect – neither ideal nor, perhaps, even wanted. But it is the great liberal compromise, adopting a conservative way to health insurance reform as its own. Indeed, it seems to be the only way Democrats seem to win lately on national issues – adopt the conservative thinking, and wait for the conservatives to pounce with furious indignation disguised as opposition. 

The very poor and children receive health insurance through Medicaid. The old receive health insurance through the wildly efficient and popular Medicare program. The rest of us, the ones in the middle, are seeing coverage dwindle and cost go up, and we’re told by smugRepublicans that it’s Obamacare’s fault despite it being a year away from full implementation. 

CNN looked at the perpetual American political crisis over healthcare and one conclusion is that we manage disease instead of preventing it. But suggest that people should eat healthier, and you’ll be denigrated as the soda police, as New York Mayor Bloomberg has. 

The issues are cost and access. Medicare is extremely efficient and popular. It is a single-payer health insurance scheme that one pays into throughout their work life and is an “entitlement” insofar as you’ve paid for it, like Social Security. Expansion of Medicare to all Americans is the easiest, most rational way to ensure universal coverage for not only managing disease, but also preventing it. Canadians have liberty, too – liberty from medical bills for routine health care, and the myths that Canadians die while queueing up for services are just that – myths. Canada’s systemis not perfect, either, but it is more perfect than what we have. The British system would be less of a political headache, because it allows for private physician and clinic alternatives – something Canada forbids. 

So, given that every industrialized pluralist democracy in the world offers its citizens some form of universal health care access – as many different models as there are nation-states – why is it that we as Americans move in baby-steps into some sort of conservative plan involving health insurers and mandates? Why not just expand Medicare to all persons of every age, and make health insurance become something truly private and competitive, where you can buy enhanced coverage of some sort on an open market? In other words, if you need cancer treatments that would otherwise cost millions of dollars, you’ll never see a bill. If you want your hospital room to have a spa in it, you can pay extra for that. 

Our revolution was fought to replace a colonial feudalism with bourgeois meritocracy. Expanding health care to all Americans, including the middle class, is something we’ve discussed as a country since the end of World War II. People still, however, go bankrupt from medical bills in what is billed as the greatest superpower in Christendom. It is that – not the notion of “socialized medicine” – which is the disgrace. 

 


  • Jesse Griffis

    “But suggest that people should eat healthier, and you’ll be denigrated as the soda police, as New York Mayor Bloomberg has. ”

    Hyperbole much? There’s an entire industry built around diet and self-help to get people healthier. What do you want, forced fat camps for the big BMI crowd?

    Bloomberg is an ass, period.

    ” In other words, if you need cancer treatments that would otherwise cost millions of dollars, you’ll never see a bill. If you want your hospital room to have a spa in it, you can pay extra for that. ”
    This is such a pollyanna pipe dream. Suddenly you’ll have umpteen thousand lobbyists and their crony buddies up in every statehouse making their pet product required under the “free healthcare”. A spa? Pay for? You gotta be kidding, that’s a “therapeutic bath” and it’s CRITICAL.

    (Current system broken, Obamacare just makes it worse, blah blah blah)

    • Carl Gorney

       And yet, Jesse, Americans as a whole are getting fatter and fatter. So how’s THAT working out? Not very well, I dare say.

  • hwhamlin

    I take it Congress is termed “dysfunctional” to the extent that both houses do not feature Democratic majorities.
    Or would we care to get more specific? As in, the Senate has refused to perform its Constitutional duty of voting out a budget–for the past four years. The most logical explanation for this is that the majority in the Senate, and Obama, would prefer to operate under a Continuing Resolution in which the objectives of the spending are much harder to determine.

    On the specific topic of this post–anyone who thinks it is the role of New York’s mayor to dictate (not, as you put it, “suggest”) what his subjects eat and drink, is somewhere between collectivist, dirigiste and socialist on the political triangle.

    And anyone who touts the Canadian governmental health system needs first to look at the standards imposed by government bureaucrats for wait times for elective surgeries. It appears one way to control medical costs is to have consumers expire while waiting for “elective” cardiac procedures.

    • hwhamlin

      The Ontario Provincial Health Care targeted wait time for cardiac bypass surgery is 182 days.
      God be with you, Northern Neighbours.

      http://www.waittimes.net/Surgerydi/en/Data.aspx?view=0&Type=0&Modality=4&ModalityType=8&city=toronto&pc=&dist=0&hosptID=0&str=&period=0&expand=0

      • The targeted wait time is 182 days. Most are completed well within the target – at 44 days. Are we pretending that you can just waltz into an American hospital with a non-emergent medical or surgical need and obtain it with no wait whatsoever? 

      • Yes, he’s pretending that. Back when our son was born, we were told that he needed to see a neurologist. This was in October. We were told which one we could see, on the basis of our insurance. We called. That neurologist’s nearest opening for an appointment was in January.

        But CANADA HAS LONG WAIT TIMES!!!

        Bullshit.

  • saltecks

     Actually the chart you reference says 9 out of 10 are completed within 44 days for elective surgery.

  • The other industrialized nations providing universal health care weren’t founded on the principles of liberty that made this country great.  Now we see our country spiraling down the toilet under the weight of endless mandates.  By all means, let’s heap some crap on the pile.

    • EricSaldanha

      Would that list of “other industrialized nations…[not] founded on the principles of liberty…” include France? Because if it does….I don’t think you’re doing it right.

      Are you claiming that TOO MUCH regulation caused the economy to crash in 2008? Once again, you’re really not doing it right.

    • Gabe Armstrong

       Mike…if you want to live by the law of the jungle, go live in the f—ng jungle. The rest of us have a civilization to maintain and evolve.

      •  The law of the jungle does not have laws protecting property rights, personal injury, etc…  You seem to confuse letting anyone do anything they want with freedom and protection from personal injury and theft.

  • Gabe Armstrong

    Alan, for once I agree with you 100%

    Anyone opposed to universal healthcare is in favor of institutional genocide.