23 July 2009

On Healthcare Reform.

Not to jump on the bandwagon, but this struck me as a pretty succinct argument for reform:

"I've been inspired by the tenacity of U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. His recent reflections in Newsweek make clear that social justice must be the underlying principle for healthcare reform, an idea LIVESTRONG seeks to embody, just as he has throughout his career. And there's a lot of reform that needs to happen. Despite the fact that the U.S. spends more than any other industrialized country on health care, we do not achieve better outcomes on leading health indicators like infant mortality and average life span. Too many Americans live without health insurance (and I was once a member of that club). Too many people don't have access to care. It's simply inexcusable.

I know mountain climbs pretty well. What President Obama and others are encouraging in the United States with healthcare is a tough climb – no doubt. To Senator Kennedy's point, though, we have a chance right now to initiate a major shift in our healthcare system. If we succeed in making a significant and substantial change, it will be the first in three generations. It is the common expectation in many countries that every citizen should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, part of a moral investment in social justice. Why not in the United States as well?"
-Lance Armstrong

You can read Lance's whole letter here on his site, but I think he brings up a lot of good points. We, as Americans have the attitude that we can (and will) do anything and everything better than everyone else. Of course, we don't always reach these goals, but we have always had the mentality to strive for them and work hard to make them happen. Isn't that what the "American Dream" is all about?

So why does better, cheaper, safer healthcare for EVERYONE not make this list? Why are folks so opposed to it? Why is there resistance? Is it the (likely) misconception that making it accessible to all will lessen the quality? That isn't the case in Europe. Is it that many don't want their 'hard earned' dollars to go towards higher taxes that may be necessary to implement this?

Let me just say this, I am beyond lucky because I do work at one of the best hospitals in this country, and I get my healthcare here with low insurance rates. I do not know what it is like to be uninsured. I do not know what it is like to have a serious health issue (knock on wood). But I do know that if I were in either of those positions, I wouldn't want to HAVE to work at a hospital to get good cheap care. I should be able to get that if I work at a gas station, as a teacher, a fireman, or as an artist. It shouldn't matter what I do or how much I get paid to do it. My health is no less valuable than the CEO on the other side of town or the slacker living off Daddy's big money just because they can afford it.

There is a way to make this work. It will take creativity, less pull from special interests (Pharmaceutical Companies, Insurance Companies and Litigation-Happy folks out there- I am talking to YOU), and hard work. But if the entire European Union can do it, WHY on Earth can't we? Answer: We CAN. And we should. NOW.


Brittany said...

well said lady. I'm halfway through my health care post. But, you said it better than I could!

Tucker said...

Thanks Lady! :) Can't wait to read your post too!

indiana.girl said...

I've been doing some research, mostly because I've gotten tired of feeling all emotional about the issue and wanted to know what the heck was going on. And it seems to me that Europe and Canada have some serious problems. Take a look at this link: http://www.heritage.org/research/healthcare/hl711.cfm

Now, I am know it looks super conservative and that put me off too, to be honest. But it was fascinating to read and then I googled around and found that these issues were supported elsewhere. Here's one from BBC news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3423159.stm

Now, I'm not saying they're all bad, or that this means we should no longer consider a model of our own, I've read some interesting and surprising stuff along the way, and I will continue to educate myself from all view points.

However, I just do not trust the government to manage this well and I do not feel comfortable allowing them that much control. Surely there is some other solution. And I wonder why must we push this through right now? This is a massively complicated issue, with huge consequences one way or the other. It seems to me rushing it is not a good idea.

Post Tenebras Lux said...

Hey Tucker =). I don't have the time to dig around and give you links like IndianaGirl did. But I don't think the risk of lower quality *is* a misconception, and I think that is *exactly* what has happened in Europe. I think the health care provided to the military is a classic example (check out Trying to Grok's post on this: http://tryingtogrok.new.mu.nu/canada_care_is_like_military_care) As the mother of a "medically fragile" child, who is currently in the middle of trying to figure out how to keep her health insurance without losing her mind, I totally get it that insurance is a big deal. But, also as the mother of my son, I want him to be able to get *good* care, and I don't see that happening with a nationalized plan. If you are interested in more in-depth discussion, lemme know; that is incredibly condensed version of why I am so opposed to it.

Tucker said...

Thanks for the comments ladies! I think the most important point is that we can use the European models as starting points- look at what ISN'T working there and make it BETTER.

I don't trust the government per se, but ONE organization overseeing is better than hundreds/thousands with the wrong priorities and not having to answer to ANYONE (which they don't). I don't think this is a simple issue, nor do I think it will be easy, but that is why I said it will take a lot of hard work and creativity to make this happen the way it should- which means no reduction in quality of care.

In many situations care suffers because of financial tie ins... lack of reimbursement primarily. This is the first thing that needs to get fixed, because that is what is driving the cost up (among other things).

I just think that our system is REALLY flawed and we CAN fix it- we just need to learn from the lessons of other countried and figure out a system that works for us. Howard Dean actually has some really great ideas over at Jezebel.com that would be practical starts to fixing it.

HellcatBetty said...

Great post! I'm getting so tired of all the criticisms we're hearing of Obama and the healthcare plan. Anyone who says the current situation is working has obviously not been desperately under-insured or uninsured for a lenthy period of time. I don't think one person has all the answers, but I think if we expend all the energy people are using to criticize and instead use it to come up with a creative solution, we'll be a lot closer to where we need to be.