Column - We need one-payer solutionNext time somebody talks to you about being for or against current health-care reform plans, be sure to ask a lot of questions – the main one being “Why?”
By: Dennis Dalman, Alexandria Echo Press
Next time somebody talks to you about being for or against current health-care reform plans, be sure to ask a lot of questions – the main one being “Why?”
You are likely to get a crazy-quilt variety of answers, such as the following:
•“It doesn’t go far enough. We need universal coverage, and that means every American citizen.”
•“Without a public option, we’ll still be in the same boat, with big insurance companies dictating higher premiums.”
•“This scheme is just another example of big government telling us what to do. It’s a tax-and-spend liberal idea, and it will bankrupt our nation even worse than it is now.”
•“This whole thing is a socialist plot. If people don’t like our health-care system, they should just go live in countries like Canada or Sweden where they die or wait in long lines for bad health care.”
•“The plan has some merit. More Americans will get health care – at least some of the 45 million who now don’t have insurance. And there will be restrictions on the huge health-care companies and what they can’t do. I guess that’s good.”
•“The damned government should keep its nose out of my business. I like the health plan I’ve got.”
•“It’s got to be defeated. Anything Obama likes, I don’t. He wasn’t even born in this country!”
•“Well, it’s not perfect, that’s for sure. But at least it’s a start. Maybe Congress can fine-tune it or add better things to it later.”
•“Reform?! They’ve got to be kidding! All it’s doing is giving a handful of monopolistic health-care companies more leeway to hang us all. The plan makes it mandatory for everyone to get insurance – insurance many of us can’t afford now and won’t be able to afford in the future. The stupid Congress is about to hand over 45 million more victims to the insurance vampires.”
•“What reform plan? I still have no idea what’s cooking.”
Good question: What’s cooking? And that’s the trouble. Like Hillary Clinton’s reform plan, way back in 1994, the current reform effort is so bloated with gutless compromises and thus so complicated, it’s almost impossible to explain or understand. Add to that the virtual brick wall of obstructionist Republican tactics since the day Obama was inaugurated, and we are left with anemic reform at best, if any plan passes at all.
I myself dare to think that someday – before too many Americans die needlessly – most of us are going to wake up and realize we need a one-payer health-care system, like all other civilized nations in the world have today. These “Tea-Party” ostriches who scream “Socialism!” at any reform that comes down the pike will someday realize they and their offspring are alive and well largely because of tax-funded government programs – everything from education to Medicare – that gave them a boost in an otherwise unrestrained “free-market” Wall-Street-driven economy that might have buried many of them alive.
In my opinion, the current reform plan, inadequate as it is, should be passed; warts and all. It can be improved later, maybe. But until that future day when legislators have the guts to pass a genuine public option – on the order of Medicare or, better yet, a one-payer solution – millions of human beings, those without affordable insurance, will keep getting sick and keep dying. And those who now have insurance will keep paying through the nose until they are sick to death of the skyrocketing premiums. That day is bound to come when a critical mass of Americans find that this lopsided health-care system is not only terminally unaffordable but morally intolerable.