Monday, July 16, 2007

The Health Care Debate is Making Me Sick

As politicians battle for party nominations and Michael Moore fights to remain relevant, one of the big issues of the day is health care in the United States.

The goal of Moore, and of many of the Democratic presidential hopefuls, is government-funded health care for everyone in the country.

I agree, the current state of health care is a farce - Many poor people can't afford health insurance at all and even people above the poverty line, myself included, have a hard time paying the premiums.

But the idea of putting the federal government in charge of the system is flawed.

The most obvious flaw is that someone still has to pay for it.

Whenever anyone suggests the government should cover the cost of anything, they seem to ignore the fact that the money has to come from somewhere. The government doesn't have a job that produces income -- it simply takes money from working Americans like you and me.

Socialized medicine wouldn't reduce our health-care costs, it would only reassign where our payments go, and would likely increase our costs because instead of paying a premium for our own insurance, we would then be required to pay toward everyone's health care.

That wouldn't be so bad if everyone who received from the system was paying into the system, but that's not the case. Socialized medicine essentially means that some people pay and some people don't, but we all get the same product.

Totally unfair. Why should I pay for anyone else? Call me selfish, tell me I'm not compassionate, I don't care. It's a simple matter of sink or swim. I choose to swim, and anyone else I have to tow around is an unnecessary burden.

Why should I be penalized for educating myself and working? If I work to be able to afford things, why should I have to work harder so someone else can have things, too?

Another flaw: what constitutes necessary health care?

Even if you subscribe to the idea that everyone, regardless of whether they pay into the system, should get aid for illnesses, you have to ask yourself where the line is drawn as to what is medically necessary.

Some people have argued that sex-change operations should be considered medically necessary for people with gender-identity issues.

That's rich. So, I should give up money that I earn myself so Bob can become Barb? I'd rather save the money and let Bob deal with his issues on his own.

I feel the same way about "addiction services" -- someone else's addiction is not my problem, and being a weak-willed person who can't control their own behavior is not a medical problem, it's a character flaw. I shouldn't have to lose any of my income because some junkie or crackhead can't get it together and act like a responsible person. I've known enough people who have kicked bad habits to know that it can be done without medical intervention.

Oh, and you also hear time and time again about making sure "our children" are insured. Sorry, I don't have any children, can't afford to have them. How about a public service announcement just telling poor folks to stop having kids they know damn well they can't support. It's not hard to not have children.

I could go on and on, but even I'm getting tired of hearing myself talk about it.

Bottom line is this: If the government has to have any role in the health-care crisis, it should be to simply regulate prices on insurance, services and drugs so that the average working person can afford them. If they can do it with the electric company, they can do it with the insurance industry.

There's no reason a doctor should be allowed to charge $300 to look in your ear. When my father died, the hospital billed my mom around $5,000 for the in-town ambulance ride (and some CPR that obviously didn't work).

Here's a beauty: I hurt my back and, even with my $430-a-month health insurance plan, still had to shell out $100+ for my doctor to write a referral slip so another doctor could write out a prescription for a muscle relaxer and a painkiller. Mind you, no one actually did anything medical - the pills did that. These 2 doctors each got paid hundreds of dollars for writing a note.

You know, I'm not really interested in giving anything to people who don't work. The only people we should give free health care to should be military veterans and their immediate families.

I have to stop now, I'm giving myself an ulcer, and I can't afford it.

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