Growing up, I always enjoyed the benefits of being the child of an elected official. Given my asthma and allergies, health insurance was an absolute necessity to protect my parents from the high cost of treatment.
As an adult, my wife an I can only afford high deductible insurance and I can only treat my asthma with meds left over from when I was under my parents policy.
The reality of paying for dental care, eye care, maternity care 100% out-of-pocket (and not counting toward our deductible) has made me begin to think more seriously about the healthcare debate. My thoughts are still disorganized but here are a few.
1) American healthcare has a waiting list. If you have insurance or money you go to the front of the list. If you don’t, you die.
2) The government is not known for being efficient. I don’t really trust them with my health.
3) I have not heard any opponents of the recent reforms suggest how the millions of uninsured are going to get the basic care they need.
4) Life and death medical issues should never be decided based on profit. It is a social and individual evil when someone suffers or dies because they cannot afford care.
5) The profitability of medicine has greatly advanced the level of care available (to those with money). I doubt technology would be anywhere near where it is today if there was no money to be made.
6) Doctors are known for being very wealthy. The sicker you are, the more money they make. Is there really any incentive to make you better?
7) If doctors made the same money as painters, everyone would suffer. We need the most intellectually gifted and medically intuitive people working on our bodies. The value of human life should be reflected in how we compensate those who provide care for it. (Painting is also a way to use our God-given intellects for his glory, but I think you get my point here)
8) Providing universal coverage will inflate prices. Care providers do have to be “somewhat” competitive in pricing. For example, I had one dentist who wanted me to pay for $850.00 dollars in care. I went to my old dentist, he suggested that less care was necessary and charged less for what he did do-$180. (James Reagan is my hero). If the government promised to pay for everything (which is not what I understand Obama’s plan to propose), unnecessary money would have been spent and the first dentist I went to would have made even more money. Universal coverage must be related to cost control. If you’ve ever seen a hospital bill with charges for everyday pain killers, you know how ridiculous pricing has become.
9) The free market can provide some solutions to cost problems, insurance costs, etc. But, is health a commodity? Is life a commodity? It is so so easy to cry “free the market” when your employer has a nice policy for you, or you can afford to pay out-of-pocket. Don’t think it’s as easy when your highly qualified, but frequently unemployed friend is stuck with $3,000.00 in medical bills for simply hurting her wrist, or when you’re in a car accident because you can’t afford the right glasses to read street signs, or when you just live with that nagging cough because you’re afraid of what the diagnosis would be and can’t afford prescriptions.
Hopefully you realize that I am not trying to over-simplify this debate. I know the government is not a good place for decisions about medical care to be made. I know we have to do something to keep people from dying. I just wish people could talk about the issue respectfully. We need to start from the assumption that everyone, by virtue of their humanity, deserves care. Then we can begin to navigate our views regarding the role of government in the process.