*UPDATE* Evidently, I’m in some sort of time warp. The joint session will be Wednesday the 9th. Not today.
This evening, President Obama will address a joint session of congress to urge and encourage them to move forward with their overhaul of the US health care system. Discussions about health care reform keep popping up all over the internet, MY internet. All summer long. Ravelry, Facebook, the Fatosphere, iChat, email. To be honest, I’m starting to feel more than a little crazy with all of it. I know this is a knitting blog, I really do. And I have tried to keep posts about politics to a minimum, but I have just got to get this off my chest.
I make no secret of my progressive leanings and when it comes to health care reform, I believe the best solution would be a single payer health care system, similar to the NHS of the United Kingdom or that of Canada. Failing that, the health care industry should at least be made to be not-for-profit. I’ve heard a lot of arguments against health care reform in general and a single payer system in particular and, seriously, I can’t take it any more!
What’s that? You don’t want to pay for the poor lifestyle choices of other people? Guess what, you already do. That’s what insurance is. We all put our money in a big pot, and when someone gets sick, they get to use some of that money to pay their bill. Do you honestly think there are no smokers or fatties or whores on your insurance plan? Well there are, and probably a lot of them. And guess what, if any one of them gets cancer or diabetes or AIDS, they get to take some of the money (a little of which is yours) out of that pot to pay their doctor or to buy medicine.
What’s that? You don’t want to pay for health care for illegal aliens and/or poor people? Well guess what, you already do. When hospitals have to write off the money owed them by people who just do not have the money to pay them, they pass on the cost to those who can. The problem with the current system is not that they’re giving “free” health care to illegals and the poor, it’s that they’re not giving the same “free” health care to everyone.
What’s that? You don’t want to have rationed care? Guess what, we already do. If you have to decide between putting food on your family [sic] or buying your medication, that’s rationing. If you put off your wellness checkups (annual pap smears, e.g.) because you don’t have the money to pay your co-pays or co-insurance, that’s rationing. And to be honest, claims that a national system would lead to “rationing” are plainly, blatantly, false.
What’s that? You have to always have access to the best of the best specialists? Well frankly, not all situations require the best doctor you can get, but if your biggest concern is having access to the best doctor money can buy, then odds are you would be able to pay for that access in whatever health care system we end up with. Meanwhile, 45 million people in this country have no access to any physician. At all. Working people, naturalized and native citizens, have no access. None. Does that honestly seem okay? Forget fairness. Is that okay?
What’s that? You don’t want a government bureaucrat standing between you and your doctor? Well, what in the holy hell would you say the insurance company bureaucrats are doing besides standing between you and your doctor? How many stories are out there of people being dropped from their insurance plan because they get sick? Don’t believe it doesn’t happen. It does. And if it happens to anyone, it can happen to you. At least if health care was paid for by our government, care would be guaranteed from cradle to grave, whether you have a job or if you get cancer. Because health care is not a privilege for the lucky, wealthy few. It is a right.
What’s that? You don’t want socialism? We already have a lot of socialism, people. We have a socialized military, roads and highways, water and sewer, schools, libraries, police/fire. We socialize the cost of these things because it improves the lives of us all. It lifts us all up. Why is national health care your last stand?
So that’s it. I’m done. I’m not going to talk about it or think about it any more. Whatever happens, happens. It is what it is.