Health Care and Politics

obamacare

 

The technician drawing my blood this morning has a simple solution for America’s healthcare problems – a government run, single-payer system. Everyone should have the same health care, she says – even the politicians. The down-and-out panhandler should get the same care as the millionaire cruising by in his Mercedes.

Why, I wonder, would anyone argue with this point of view?

Yet even when Democrats controlled Congress, President Obama could not get the support he needed for such a simple plan. He was obliged to settle for the unwieldy, legally vulnerable Affordable Care Act, derisively christened Obamacare by its critics.

One consequence is a case before the Supreme Court that could disrupt the law’s implementation and leave millions of Americans stripped of their health insurance. 

What do you think America’s leaders should do if the court strikes down the law’s provision subsidizing residents of states that have no health insurance exchanges of their own? I think Congress should replace Obamacare with a straightforward single-payer system. If you get sick or hurt, you get care, and you don’t have to pay a dime. Period. 

But you and I know that’s not going to happen. Not with this Congress. Why?

The cynical explanation is that drug companies and private health insurers have “bought” the politicians. And these interests certainly spend a ton of money lobbying Congress.Yet, surely, politicians must answer to the voters as well as the lobbyists. There must be resistance to health care reform at the grass roots level, or Congress could not get away with its grotesque obstructionism.

Yes, I know, many Americans have a built-in fear and loathing of “socialism” even though I don’t think they know what “socialism” means. Universal health care is not, in my view, socialism. It is simply good government.

Socialism involves government ownership of a country’s resources, especially in such sensitive areas as utilities. There are sensible arguments for and against that economic approach. Health care is a different matter entirely. It’s a matter of life and death, not economics.

Who in their right mind would prefer an unhealthy society to a healthy one?

It’s a question that might face voters next November.

If the Republican assault on the Affordable Care Act succeeds, the Demnocrats shouldn’t just try to resuscitate the Affordable Care Act. They should offer a single-payer plan like the one in Canada and several other countries.

Are Americans ready for such a bold decision? My blood testing technician sure is.

Click for more on the Supreme Court case.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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