As I look at the geopolitical and economic landscape of the world, I think to myself: the Affordable HealthCare Act (ObamaCare) really has some serious inadequacies. The problem with the legislation is that it does not go far enough. The United States is the only industrialized country on earth that does not provide universal healthcare coverage for all citizens.
This makes it much more difficult for us to compete in the global economy. Educating a workforce that is stressed out, arguing, confused and economically burdened by a tsunami of change in the healthcare market is much more difficult and expensive. This is not to our benefit. Also absenteeism is less a factor, and productivity is higher in countries where universal preventative care is in place.
There are practical and extremely expensive matters of seeking and registering for coverage. Designing healthcare plans, coming up with very convoluted elaborate payment systems called “DRG Reimbursement Methodology”, designing healthcare.gov and convincing people to try it, all of these are not necessary in counties that have universal healthcare, saving billions.
Additionally, the stress caused to all of the people involved in the current healthcare controversy is simply not being experienced by families in those other countries, significantly increasing their quality of life. People in Europe are not worried sick about premiums, due dates, deadlines, rapid legislative changes and overall cost trajectories.
US pundits often make the argument, (frequently confusing opinion with fact) and indicate that the ACA is unconstitutional. Often they wrap themselves in cloak of reverence for the document. The Supreme Court rendered their opinion that the majority of the legislation is constitutional. That’s the fact of the matter, although individuals are still entitled to their opinions. Although let’s talk about the constitution a bit.
Much as I also revere the constitution, we need to constantly reinterpret the constitution as a living document. At the time the constitution was written, leeches were used regularly as part of healthcare.
Also, slavery was legal, most or all of the signers were slave owners. Human rights, and the concept of people’s right to be protected by the government in any meaningful way (as they are in a post FDR world) other than military protection, did not yet exist.
Beyond that, guns were called muskets and typically took more than one minute to prepare and fire one single, inaccurate shot.
So, as much as I revere our constitution, I feel a pragmatic look at human rights of current citizens outweighs the philosophical concerns. Many Americans are in one of two situations. The first is that they are being asked to pay a fee of about $1500 on their taxes if they opt out. This is actually not a fee you have to pay. You can simply refuse, the fee was written into the legislation to be intentionally unenforceable to placate house republicans.
The other scenario is some inferior health plans are being shut down by the government, because they don’t comply with the ACA, often because they don’t offer mental health coverage. Other plans are simply valueless, as the insured would still go bankrupt after paying all their premiums if they suffered any serious illness. Those plans aren’t really valid insurance products if you understand risk.
For these reasons, I feel the ACA is indeed a tragic mistake. I sincerely hope that over time it becomes successful. However, a half-measure toward the correct destination of universal health coverage like all other industrialized countries does not make me happy. As someone who loves the Unites States, I feel we would have been way better off with a “Medicare for All” approach.
I don’t enjoy private corporations like Blue Cross and WellPoint making a handsome profit from my and my children’s life and death cycle, and their need to obtain healthcare. I also don’t like the idea of them being in the decision-making process of what’s covered, when they are driven purely by a profit motive as stated in the bylaws of their corporations.
Corporations who make a huge profit from inferior care like Tenet Healthcare will be the subject of another blog post.
This essay is not designed to irritate the people who read it and disagree with me, or be a rant or trolling. I am just trying to make my entire position clear, to avoid misunderstandings about where I’m coming from. I hope you find my perspective interesting, please don’t hesitate to comment.