Healthcare reform — a page in American history

OK.  So healthcare reform is on the table.  For real.  At the risk of losing more subscribers, I’ll declare — I’m actually a single-payer supporter.  If you aren’t sure what that means, I support a federal health care program run by and supported by the government, providing equal access to healthcare for all.  This doesn’t mean anyone would lose anything.  When I was living in Canada, we all paid for medicare through our taxes, we all had a basic program of healthcare that ensured no one had to fall through the cracks.  For those who wanted extras (like private hospital rooms, additional prescription coverages) we could take out supplemental insurance policies to take us to the level of privilege we wanted or could afford.  I’m not an economist, but I suspect, that on average, Canadians likely spend the same for coverage, through taxes, as Americans do for private insurance.  However, Canada’s public policy means everyone has coverage — no one need go without.  Are there problems?  Sure there are.  Some regions don’t have enough doctors, or enough specialists, which can result in waiting times for elective processes.  But from a moral and ethical stand, it feels correct, right, human, to ensure that if we have the ability to care for our people, then we should.   From Wikipedia, a well documented article (full article here):

In 2003, the prime minister and the provincial premiers agreed upon priority areas for reinvestment. The 2003 First Ministers’ Accord on Health Care Renewal reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of the Canada Health Act. They indicated the following principles:

“Drawing from this foundation, First Ministers view this Accord as a covenant which will help to ensure that:

  • all Canadians have timely access to health services on the basis of need, not ability to pay, regardless of where they live or move in Canada;
  • the health care services available to Canadians are of high quality, effective, patient-centred and safe; and
  • our health care system is sustainable and affordable and will be here for Canadians and their children in the future.”

The accord set the following priority areas: primary health care, home care, catastrophic drug coverage, access to diagnostic/medical equipment and information technology and an electronic health record.

Isn’t that the idea?  To work toward those goals?  I’m not a political genius, but I’m pretty sure that is what President Obama is driving.  The process to get there will be very challenging.  The system will not be perfect…ever.  But if it helps to create a healthy population…for all Americans…then there is no doubt that it will have a positive impact on the health of the American economy over decades.  A healthy, educated child becomes a healthy, educated adult.  And that builds a healthy, educated middle class, which creates small business, fosters entrepreneurship, and leads the health of our economy.

(Taking a breath…) OK.  That is health care and my two cents (cha-ching…4 Republican readers have just unsubscribed…and cha-ching…5 Democrat readers have just subscribed).

6 thoughts on “Healthcare reform — a page in American history

  1. Single payer is the best way to go, I agree completely. Why they didn’t start the reform process with something simple, like “Medicare for All” is a complete mystery. John Conyers (D-Mich) introduced a bill that would have done that — HR 676, I think. It was only 30 pages long and even a non-lawyer could understand it — imagine! Instead, we get 1,200+ pages of legalese that won’t kick in until 2013 (or possibly never, if the insurance industry execs and certain other people have their way), won’t cover everyone and may or may not have a public option. Thanks for nothing, Congress!

  2. I wonder what people would really think if the media didn’t stir up the fear factors and if the political parties weren’t so polarized. I like MoneyPenny’s point that had the reform been labelled something really simple (she coins “Medicare for All”…I would buy that…”healthcare for all” works!) people would understand the concept better. Now I have to do my research on HR 676.

    Marika — I agree. And I wish more people would just say it like it is! How can anyone NOT want healthcare for all??

  3. If we could keep the concept of communism and socialism OUT of the mix we might be able to understand that it is really what our country was founded upon. Looking back at history, the founding fathers didn’t like the concept of large banks and more or less predicted what has happened. While a banking system much larger than they could have concieved is necessary for a free economy, they still had the right idea. The fact that most insurance companies have ties to large banking should tell us something.
    The insurance companies and banks are holding our health and welfare hostage. Let our governments get our healthcare under control and we will be healthy enough to wrest the control of our financial lives from the clutches of big business!

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