09 July 2012

Healthcare the Pragmatic Way

If America is going to do healthcare, do it the pragmatic way. That means being plain spoken about the system and having equal benefits to all people. Think of the US highway system - it allows all people the opportunity to use it. People can drive a Ford Pinto or a Ferrari on the road, but the quality is there regardless. This is the mentality we need to apply to any injustices that may exist in our country.

Obama's method is deceitful, plain and simple. It is presented not as a tax, but as a no-cost social benefit with a penalty for inaction. It was forced through congress on reconciliation. When SCOTUS barely gives it the thumbs up, it is only by re-defining it as a tax. But, even with this, the President and Pelosi are still insisting it isn't (can we get that vote back?). All of the tv and radio ads talk about all the "free" services we now have. How we can be thankful to Obama for his mercy on us. However, there is NEVER any talk about the cost (We can thank the hapless republican leadership for their silence) or that it only covers a small number of people. For the record, everyone is NOT covered under ObamaTax.

What is the Right way? Well, I'd say if Americans are insisting on providing everyone with a level of healthcare, then that level needs to be clearly defined. Once it is defined, it is firmly set as a not-to-exceed level except with a large majority of congress. Further, the cost would have to be at the forefront so there is no doubt that there is a cost. And finally, the cost is equally borne by all citizens and the benefits only apply to citizens.

How would this work? Well, that would be quite the debate. But, I'd want to see these basics covered:

No "out of pocket" for ALL citizens when:
  • Going to the doctor for emergency situations. This would be a child with a very high fever, or a child who cannot stop vomiting, etc. 
  • Medication for major illnesses such as strep throat and other highly contagious sickness or easily preventable disease.
  • The most basic of vaccines. Not the stupid rotovirus, but ones such as hepatitis, MMR, and others that can lead to pandemics. (Please note I am not a fan of vaccines, but I can't be convinced that they should be eliminated.)
What wouldn't be covered? Well, all the things that people choose to do on a voluntary basis.
  • Pregnancy is a tough one, but it shouldn't be covered. Neither abortion (rape and/or incest is such a touchy subject... I don't even know how to approach that). In the majority of cases, pregnancy is a preventable condition by the simple act of not having sex. Deal with it. And barely half of the population is capable of being pregnant, so it can't really be considered something where it would be "fair" to share the load. 
  • Same goes for birth control. Don't have sex.
  • Pain killers. OTC meds. Etc. If you need it, you can buy it. It isn't life threatening.
  • Any injury that is associated with the intentional engagement in a potentially dangerous activity. This includes walking the dog.
  • Cancer
  • Disease caused by lifestyle choices (AIDS - don't have sex)
The premise is this: If society as a whole can benefit from the medical treatment, then society as a whole can chose to provide that treatment. And the whole thing would be collected as a tax. Up front and personal. Medical insurance would still be available for all other specialty and extreme cases that may need the extra coverage. It should be easily accessible by all people regardless of their employment status (This is one thing that I do hate about the current state of health insurance). And insurance options should be available for those with pre-existing conditions. Not a blanket, mandatory statement that all insurance providers must not show discrimination due to Pre-con, but that there would be reasonable coverage with exemptions specific to the pre-existing condition. There are so many cases of Insurance companies being inhumane because someone forgot to disclose a single doctor visit year and years ago... Those are heart breaking stories... The loopholes need to be closed.

There is an easy argument that it is good for the society to be healthy and not spreading extremely dangerous diseases around. We all benefit from having a system in place that allows us easy access for the most basic of health provisions. The only way this is possible is by being transparent about it up front, only allowing equal coverage of all citizens, and having extremely limited coverage.

Is universal healthcare a conservative value? By definition, I'd have to say no. The US government should not place itself in control of our personal welfare. It should be focused on the welfare of the country as a whole. However, society moves in directions based on illogical sentiment. So, if we are going to insist on doing something, why not let conservatives do it in a way that actually makes sense?

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