Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Thought on Health Care Reform

I'm going off-topic here, but I want to add a quick thought to the national debate on health care "reform" (whatever that will mean). The Left is insisting on full coverage for all Americans, seemingly without regard to cost, with a "public option" a must. The Right is just as insistent that only "free market" solutions are acceptable, making all kinds of noise about "rationing of care".

I'm certainly no health care expert, but I do know that paying for a full family plan is awfully expensive (ours is now over $1,000 per month). On the other hand, having undergone extensive (and expensive) treatment for a serious illness, I sure do appreciate having had coverage. I also believe it is tragic and untenable that 50 million Americans (give or take) have no health insurance.

While I don't believe health care is a "right" to the same extent as basic Constitutional freedoms, I do believe that we' d be better off as a society if all citizens had at least fundamental basic coverage that would spread the cost and the risks amongst the entire population. However, people would have to understand that unless we want to break the bank, not all types of treatment should be covered under the "basic" plan. People would be free to purchase additional coverage (or keep their existing coverage), and could always go out-of-pocket for any treatments not covered by the basic plan.

Of course the "wealthy" would maintain access to more (and possibly better) care than their less well-off neighbors, but at the very least such basic coverage would allow everyone to have fundamental health care that might remove much of the burden from the Medicaid system and reduce the use of hospital emergency rooms as the "primary care" provider for so many of the poor.

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