23 October 2009

Facebook discussion

I've been having a discussion on Facebook that happened when I posted the following as my status/thoughts:

Shameful greed has lead to where we are in regard to healthcare, yet Republicans and conservatives continue to defend this immoral system. What a bunch of greedy hypocrites. They cart out their religion when it's about people's sex lives, but only talk free-market, free-market, at the expense of their neighbors, when it comes to real moral issues like health care.

While I love the spontaneous discussion that happened, Facebook's character limits have driven me here to continue the discussion...

CHARLA: amen.

DAVE: I guarantee, if they could get campaign funds from Satan himself they'd do it despite their "christian values".

HEATHER: Just to be clear, I'm pretty sure that there are democrats that are opposed to universal health care to...

DAVE: Right... I'll extend my above statement to any politician who claims "christian values" are important to them.

ME: Dave... the fact that we don't take care of everyone that needs care is THE moral failing in my book. And by "everyone" I sort of mean the world. And by "care" I sort of mean making sure that no one dies from hunger, inadequate living conditions, lack of access to healthcare, or murder/violence.

And I will say that the overwhelming majority of "christian values" indoctrinates I know only want to limit what others do or have access to. Their interests and passions are not to bring about a better world - or perhaps they want to define "better" for everyone. There are a few exceptions, but they truly are the exceptions.
not very articulate, but I'm at work and in a hurry...

ME: Heather - I think that what you are referring to is the government option and/or single payer health care.

In my status I did not say "universal health care" I said health care, although to be honest I believe wholeheartedly (absolutely, in the strictest form of the word "wholeheartedly" - with every part of me, to the extent that it almost physically hurts to think about it) that ALL the people of the world deserve to have health care. I believe universal health care is a right, not a privilege.

I wholeheartedly believe that parents should not have to sit with a sick child and decide between feeding the family (or keeping the rent paid) AND taking the child to the doctor. I have been in that position - it is a cruel torture, perhaps one of the cruelest a parent can face. The fear, the anger, the sense of abject hopelessness

I believe that children (and adults) should never have to die for lack of the ability to pay for a doctor's time.

JUDE: current option...sitting for hours in a public hospital and $4 prescriptions from Wal-Mart (a whole other story there) with your feverish child crying about an ear-ache. I love it when the bill-collectors call :) "Sorry sir/ma'am...I have no money but I am looking forward to talking to you tomorrow".

GLORIA:  Or in my case I have expensive full coverage where I work but they will not cover the drugs I need to keep my asthma under control. Frugs I have taken for years so I am forced to buy in canada. The same drugs for pennies on the dollar.

 HEATHER: i agree that something does need to be done with health care.... im just not so sure about universal health care.

ME:  Heather - don't think about the politicos wrangling about it. Or rather - think past their rantings - and I do mean ranting on both sides. Both sides have vested interests that go beyond this issue. The ones in power want to stay in power and the ones on the outs want in.

Think instead about the word UNIVERSAL. It simply means EVERYONE - rich, middle-class and poor. Everyone deserves to be able to take their kids to the doctor when they need it. To keep their kids well enough to do well in school. To make sure that their kids don't die from preventable things.

I believe what you have reservations about is the Single Payer option and/or the government-run program. Those are the parts of this that make people nervous - everyone, or nearly everyone, KNOWS we have to do something about healthcare.

We're already paying more through increased medical costs to everyone who can pay to cover the cost of hospitals caring for those who cannot.

damn this character limit in Facebook... there's way more to be said here - I'm transferring this discussion to my blog http://montagael.blogspot.com

Go there if you want to read my longer answer.

So here I am.

The thing that we need to work out is what it would really cost to get everyone the healthcare they need.

Unfortunately, given our current system there is absolutely no way to do that with any certainty. Health insurance has muddied the waters to the point where we really don't know what our costs should be.  How can we determine the costs of healthcare for all when:
  1. we've never decided what the minimum care level should be - we will never be able to afford for everyone the way-out-there tests and treatments that the wealthy or the highly insured can purchase, or at least not the way healthcare is managed today. 

  2. we don't know the health status for the millions who are out of the healthcare market due to their inability to pay - Jude's comment about sitting in the hospital emergency room with a child who has an earache is exactly what happens for people with no other healthcare alternative. When things are impossible, when their child won't stop crying from pain or is running a high fever, they end up in the emergency room because hospitals don't generally turn people away for their inability to pay (they just pass the costs along to those who can, increasing those people's insurance costs - not because they want to, but that they must in order to be able to continue giving care to anyone... talk about dancing in a downward spiral...)

  3. we cannot pause long enough to actually think about this - between the concerns for feeding and housing our families, the worries about the economy in our country, the wars we are fighting AND the rantings of the politicos, we are jerked back and forth between the issues in a way that keeps us unfocused and overstimulated, resulting in either a simmering rage or a deep apathy.

  4. and there are powerful interests that don't want things changed too much. I think I'm talking about the insurance industry, but there could be others that I just don't know about - in fact, it's pretty damn likely that there are...

    They want change, but change that won't eat into their profits too much, or even better, change that allows them to shed the unprofitable accounts and keep the profitable ones. 
Healthcare should not be a for-profit industry. That's the bottom line in my thinking. Sure, people say that we won't have the best doctors if we take away the profit-minded pay scale. I say we would have no worse doctors and we might end up with better doctors - doctors who are doctors because their PASSION is caretaking.

Make it possible for doctors to get their schooling, their training, without incurring debt. Make intellegence and creative thinking the criteria for medical school - not whether or not you can afford it. Open up the possibility for bright students of every economic class to become a doctor if that's their passion. Use our government to fund that kind of reform, to build the hospitals, to regulate care quality and care equality. Get rid of for-profit health insurance - spend those trillions of dollars spent on insurance directly on healthcare instead.

That would really change the world.

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