by David T. Bruce
It doesn’t seem to make sense that a government operation automatically has the advantage of putting a privately owned enterprise out of business. If this were the case, then the U.S. Postal Service would not be struggling. The post office struggles because consumers perceive that the postal service is not providing a service that is comparable to various competitors: UPS, DHL, the Internet, etc. Similarly, a government run healthcare program does not automatically have an advantage over services provided by various privately owned insurance companies. If the government provides a better service at a better cost than privately owned companies, subsequently putting some privately owned companies out of business, so be it. Frankly, I am tired of watching our government bail out companies and CEOs who fail at their jobs. It is about time that the government bails out citizens for a change.
Unlike those responsible for the financial collapse of the recent past, those citizens without health insurance are not looking for handouts. The uninsured are not asking for funding to make amends for poor or reckless business practices. The uninsured are asking for a health insurance option that is affordable and not a measurement of a person’s social status or a way to line the pockets of an insurance company’s board of directors. How can a person earning minimum wage hope to afford the cost of insurance from a company that is focused on earning a profit?
Good for you who have found a means to make the American dream work in your favor. Shame on you who would damn your neighbor for not having the same benefit. What do you care that someone else would prefer an affordable option for health care, which allows for preventative care and affordable prescriptions? Many Americans can no more afford private health insurance today than they could afford a new car or new clothes. A person cannot find insurance policies on a Goodwill clothing rack. For those that concern themselves with the fiscal ramifications of a government-owned healthcare program, I have news for you. Medicaid is paid for by taxes, and over 20 percent of the country is already living with a government operated healthcare program. We have socialized medicine. Yes, the government already provides some health insurance coverage, and the government dictates who will provide health care. Incidentally, some insurance company policies dictate the same. Get over it, and let us move past that particular label that is designed to strike fear into the hearts of Americans everywhere.
Our nation as a whole can only benefit if the majority of the population is healthy. If a health care system exists that excludes any Americans from even the most trifling of care because of socio-economic status, then that system is flawed. Many of our nation’s leaders recognize that their constituents are of no use to themselves, their families, or their country if they do not receive regular medical care. On the other hand, many of our nation’s leaders recognize that their bread is buttered by health insurance companies. I suspect that many of the people who are currently offended by the possibility of government intervention in the health insurance industry had no problem accepting checks resulting from the government stimulus package two years ago or consenting to the government bailouts that prevented further deterioration of the United States economy.
In 2007 approximately 1 in 5 persons in the United States was enrolled in Medicaid, a government sponsored healthcare program. We need to stop worrying about the labels associated with government assistance and begin concerning ourselves with why (according to the World Health Organization) we spend more for health care than any country in the world yet rank 37 out of 191 countries in health care performance. Everyone deserves basic health care, and no one has the right to deny that care: not insurance companies and not those waiting for the next stimulus check.