Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Freedom of Choice?

With a topic as emotionally charged as healthcare reform, illogical arguments are bound to run rampant. Of course, outright lies are running pretty well rampant, as well. Those lies, however, are only believed because of the basic underlying (and illogical) argument against public healthcare coverage. It should be noted that no one in our government is actually proposing the kind of government provided healthcare enjoyed by the bulk of modern democratic nations. Perhaps the reason for this is because of the inability of so many people to see past the illogical arguments against such a program (well... that and the millions of dollars donated to politicians by the health insurance industry).

The basic argument against publicly provided healthcare is that it is an unwelcome intrusion by the government into the private lives of it's citizens. Essentially, it's viewed as a power grab by a government intent on controlling every aspect of our lives, and paying for it by taxing the living daylights out of us.

Well--no one likes intruding governments OR taxes.

The illogical nature of the argument is exposed when one considers our current system. You know-- the really expensive one in which private insurers make all our medical decisions.

It seems ridiculous to me that people, ostensibly in the name of democracy and fiscal prudence, can be so opposed to an elected government providing healthcare coverage at no profit, while defending unelected corporations providing healthcare coverage at a large profit.

One could argue that the corporations have been elected by people choosing to do business with them. Maybe. But, really, what is health insurance that it needs to be complicated by choice? You pay a regular fee, and the insurance company pays for your medical treatment. Naturally, in our choice-laden system, it isn't currently that simple. How it currently works is you pay a regular (and ever increasing) fee, your insurance company pays for some of your medical treatment, and if you ever get really sick they will pay up to a certain amount, unless they can cancel your coverage-- which they will attempt to do. After they have finished paying as much as they will-- or have cancelled your coverage-- then you are no longer amongst the "lucky." You are now one of the millions without healthcare and your fate is to die penniless, writhing in unimaginable pain.

Okay, that last part is exactly the kind of emotional, non logical argument I don't espouse. What actually does happen, however is that you are likely to be forced into bankruptcy. And because you have not donated millions of dollars to politicians, this will be a bad thing.

Of course, you can currently choose to which company you pay your monthly fee, and what your deductibles are, and at what point they will cut you off (providing they can't cancel your coverage. That you can't choose--they WILL try to do this).

Generally speaking, I am for freedom of choice. However, what is the point of having rotting meat available in a candy store?

And expensive rotting meat, at that. It seems obvious that, if part of your monthly fee does not need to go to corporate profits you will either: A. get better medical treatment; B. have to pay less of a monthly fee; or C. both.

For my part, I would rather pay my regular monthly fee to an organization that is chosen by the people it serves, and has no motive to charge me more that it needs to provide the service I'm paying for. But I don't have that choice.

Where's the logic in that?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for putting my feelings into words. I'm glad I didn't have to do it, because it would have been far less articulate.

    On a sarcastic note: maybe all other industrialized countries have affordable, quality government healthcare, but... uh, we're better than all of 'em! We're the greatest country in the world, and don't ever question it! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!