Wednesday, September 23, 2009

#159 Obamacare and the Dark Ages

Light and dark were of the same duration yesterday, and I give us about an equinoctial chance to get right with Health Care and finally step into the ranks of civilized nations. Unfortunately, the metaphor from nature bodes ill, because the nocturnal forces will hold sway till Sol Invictus begins to right the diurnal balance in December. Maybe it will take that long--we're not a parliamentary system, and I'm okay with that. But maybe more honest and "enlightened" heads and hands will soon prevail to stop the bleeding. For it's nothing short of BARBARIC what untold millions of our fellow citizens are "forced" to go through, if they're lucky enough to be alive to go through it. (see DM #140-1, #143-4)

I use "forced" advisedly, since I believe that a nation's HEALTH, collectively and individually, is in a unique category exempt from the vagaries of the free-market. As Bill Moyers said a couple of weeks ago, "health is a condition, not a commodity." As a good Libertarian--interpreting basic principles broadly--I expect my government to protect me and my fellow tax-payers from Force and Fraud, and the "conditions" of old age, disability and disease fit the former (see DM #122). We just have little or no control at all over the accidents of fate and human mortality that are rather forced upon us.

Ideally, the solution would be Single Payer for everybody--modeled on Medicare, but without its gaps and co-payments. Show your card ... get fixed. For life.

Not gonna happen. So ... whatever "National Health Insurance Bill" is cobbled together to find its way to the President's desk must contain the Blogman's three bed-rock provisions:

  • Everyone is covered, regardless of ability to pay.
  • Insured has a choice, within reasonable limits, of doctor and health services.
  • Out-of-pocket payments, if any, are based on family income.

There you are. Easy ... all industrialized nations on earth, but us, honor those principles every day for their healthy, happy citizens. To exaggerate just a bit. Whatta they got that we ain't got?--Public Option. As mentioned earlier (DM #138): the French, Germans, Swiss, for example, and of course the rosy-cheeked Scandinavians, all enjoy the benefits above without a purely single-payer system. Depending on the country, they are offered a varied mix of private and public options. Can't we do at least as well?

Remember--and no exaggeration here--those countries rank in the the top ten of "Happiest Nations" surveys year after year, while the U.S. never gets out of the twenties (DM #139). We should be ashamed. It's about time that we join these happy, civilized people and reform our dark-age health-care system, so long benighted. We'll see.

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