Why NOT Having Universal Health Care Should Not Be an Option

December 12, 2017|Posted in: Uncategorized

This is not a political site, and I am not an overly political guy. I’m not about to make any blanket statements about the Affordable Care Act being the greatest thing since sliced bread, nor about how heartless the GOP is being about this whole thing (you can decide that for yourself).

But I do believe that some form of universal health care is important, and that importance goes beyond simple dollars and cents. Now some of you will read that and immediately start screaming “Socialism!” But the need (or desire, if it’s in our favor) to stuff the complexities of this issue into a box and tack on a simple label is one of the things driving the massive amounts of misinformation out there.

For starters, taxpayers ALREADY pay for 65% of medical bills. And anyway, I’m not necessarily talking about a Medicare or Medicaid type of solution. I just think that to survive, we have to find a way to ensure that every person has access to quality care that is affordable … however that is defined.

And please don’t think I am blindly blaming doctors, or pharmaceutical companies, or any of the affiliated corporations. The fact is, we–people like you and me, who can at least semi-afford health care–have done our part to drive up costs, as well, but rushing our children to the doctor (or wore, the ER) and demanding antibiotics or opioids at the first sign of anything from pneumonia to a stubbed toe. Then we end up suing them because some TV lawyer says we’re “entitled” to compensation.

The fact is, universal health coverage goes beyond that. It’s not just about money or moral responsibility. In some ways it’s a matter of national security. The Prevention and Public Health Care Fund, for example, handles planning for bioterrorism and pandemics. How does that factor in?

Here’s one way: people without insurance tend to put off seeing a doctor. Once their problem gets bad enough that they decide to get help, they’re likely as not to end up in a busy emergency room. That’s not the best place for individualized care anyway, and the uninsured are very often given less attention than people with insurance. In other words, they fall through the cracks.

That’s bad enough by itself, but this failure becomes a danger not only for the individual but for the public at large when the problem is a deadly infectious disease or biological attack. Sound like a stretch? Well, that was the situation in Dallas in 2014, when an outbreak of Ebola was narrowly averted.

And remember when sending anthrax through the mail was all the rage back in 2001? Nearly two dozen people were infected, but only five died thanks to timely medical attention. What if that had not been the case? What if the infected persons were not insured? And worse, what if something highly contagious like smallpox were involved, instead of anthrax? If the first victims were uninsured and delayed healthcare, the results could be catastrophic.

Again, I am not pushing a political agenda here. I honestly think this issue transcends politics. We have to seriously sit down and find a way to create a strong public health infrastructure and a healthcare system that covers everyone and can protect our citizens in the event of pandemics or bioterrorism. If we can’t … we’re no longer a “great” country: we’re just a time bomb waiting to detonate.