I have decided to start a little series - my thoughts on what government should be doing. Think the little cartoons from the 70s - LOVE IS.....
This is number 1.
The BUSINESS of GOVERNMENT is to provide all citizens with basic health care coverage. Now I am not going all Canadian on you. I am not advocating socialized medicine. I know there are pitfalls there and in reality it would not work. It would negaztively impact many medical practices and it would cause us some whiplash while we transitions.
What I am saying is - the government should create a system like Medicare or Medicaid for us all. It would be funded by tax dollars - it would cover the basics - 1 tooth cleaning per year, 2 visits to your General Practice Physician, it would cover a trip to the ER. It would be the safety net that all of us really and truly need. Babies would be guaranteed their shots and all well baby visits would be covered. The focus would be creating a safety net and providing for those who need help the most - the very young and the very old.
Health care is a huge problem in this country. I know critics of socialized medicine love to point out that it would create shortages and long wait times. Hello! I have to schedule my OB/GYN appointment for my annual exam one full year in advance and I better pray I do not have to reschedule because that is impossible. When I was struggling with figuring out where my weirdo rash came from the waiting list to see the "really good" food allergy allergist was a short 18 months.
Another issue in this country is that the system is bankrupting itself and the free market approach has created a two tiered system. I hear Republican friends say over and over the problem with socialized medicine is we "will have to pay for them and all their problems." I always want to shout - "Dumbass we are paying for "them" we pay for the uninsured every single day." Our premiums are higher and the cost that the doctors and hospitals charge those of us with insurance are inflated to cover the costs that go unpaid by those who are uninsured. It is a vivacious cycle.
Another and more troubling problem - the increasingly squeezed middle class. Those who have a solid two income - but are dealing with a chronically ill child or managing a chronically illness themselves. Insurance companies are applying caps and if theses families were not working or made significantly less they would qualify for Medicaid. What? This is silly. We need to have some sort of safety net - some sort of way to ensure that those who want to work and who can work - do so - they continue to pay their taxes and be productive. This is also an issue for the Welfare to Work programs that GW pushed thru. I support the idea of getting people into the workforce - but people need health care - affordable health insurance. Getting a a job with a livable wage should not mean taking away the safety net that Medicaid provides dependent children.
If I had all the answers - I would have a plan written and I would run for president (no I wouldn't - you could not pay me enough to take on that job.) but I do think it is the Business of Government - to make sure its citizens have a health care safety net.
At the time the founding fathers were drafting the Constitution their life expectancy was like 40s years old. Now that we are living to our late 90s - we need to change with the times. In 1776, the signors of the Declarations of Independence - has wives, daughters, slaves and servants - to care for them and sadly a paper cut could kill them. They never dreamed of open heart surgery or preemies making it to adulthood.
We live in different times now. We must change with them. We are a nation of smart and free thinkers - we need to show our compassion and our business savvy and solve this problem - the longer we wait - the worse it is going to get.