All I want for 2012 (besides world peace, eradication of disease and hunger, and adept government representatives) is some decent health insurance for my family and me. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently it is.
I was denied health insurance again this week. And I’m beyond enraged about it. This is my second denial in less than a year. The reason this time: I regularly see a chiropractor to maintain a healthy back. If it involves prevention or maintenance, they don’t want any part of it.
I had to put my wife and daughters on their own coverage plan since they’re in a more insurable demographic than I am. I’m not completely uninsured, but the policy I have is flimsy, feeble, and expensive. I’ve been trying to upgrade for a few years, even willing to pay more for a better policy, but no one will touch me. Our system is way beyond fouled up.
All of the political lip service about job creation and encouraging small business growth is rubbish. Big fat stinking lies. They don’t care about small business ownership or even creating jobs. It’s all about profits.
My wife and I run a small family-owned business. I’ve had it for 14 years. We make a modest profit every year and we gladly pay taxes on that profit. We contract my brother to be our business manager. I employ a dozen or so other contractors annually. The single most threatening factor to the continued existence of our business is not government regulation or taxation, but the criminal cost of medical insurance. It’s suffocating.
I’m all for a centralized single payer health insurance option. It’s long past due in this country where, according to the 2009 census, there are more than 50 million uninsured. I don’t care if it’s administered on the state or national level. I’m not picky. And I humbly submit my nomination as “spokesmodel” for such a plan, because families like mine would benefit from it.
Why do so many people get freaked out about single payer plans or even health insurance exchanges? I’ve heard all the lame arguments against them. Here are some of them and my responses:
Do you really want some government flunky deciding the fate of your health care? It's preferrable to what I have now. That government “flunky” would ultimately answer to me, because (the last time I checked) I am the government – at least I’m supposed to be. And so are my neighbors. And so are you. I think most of us have forgotten our ownership of this republic since we’ve foolishly let corporations take over. And right now I have to answer to some corporate flunky who gets paid a bonus to deny my claims and my coverage.
There will be death panels choosing who lives and dies! That is a lie and a desperate scare tactic by the opposition.
Do you really want the government choosing your doctors? Besides being another flimsy scare tactic, it’s not like I have much of a choice now. My PPO decides who I can and cannot see. What’s the difference? Except, under a single payer system, I theoretically have a say in the process through the ballot box.
You might have to wait months for treatment. In all systems there are examples of waiting and denials. Have you tried to make an appointment to see a specialist lately? Sometimes it takes two months to see my dermatologist. You always have to wait. And, really folks, I’ve witnessed amazing national health systems while traveling abroad. My friends who live in Germany, Canada, and Japan are overwhelmingly positive about their systems and horrified at what they find here. A friend who adopted children from Kenya said the health care at the children’s hospital there was “far superior” to care she gets here.
Do you really want to pay more in taxes? Yes. Gladly. As it is, I pay thousands of dollars a year to a corporation called Mega Life & Health (yes, that’s its real name) for threadbare coverage for me and my family. I’d gladly pay that money into an exchange to get comprehensive coverage.
Do you really want your tax dollars going to pay for the care of someone who has made bad lifestyle choices? That doesn't bother me so much. For starters, it’s what Jesus did. He never asked anyone to pee into a cup. Even if you’re not a fan of Christ, it’s about doing what’s right for the common good, and it’s about national defense. Having an educated, healthy, and able-bodied citizenry would be the nation’s best homeland security policy. The most just, civil, and productive societies care for its weakest and most vulnerable members without asking about pre-existing conditions.
It will cost too much. Well, yes, it will be expensive. But according to one study by the General Accounting Office, "If the US were to shift to a system of universal coverage and a single payer, as in Canada, the savings in administrative costs [10% of health spending] would be more than enough to offset the expense of universal coverage." And if we can fund baseless wars and corporate bailouts, then we can fund health care. Personally, I think the payoff will be incalculable.
But, we already have the best health care in the world! Wrong. Not even close. When the World Health Organization stopped ranking countries in 2000, we were at #37 behind Chile and Costa Rica. A more recent study ranks the US last in health care vs. Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. And we are the most expensive by nearly twice as much. Check out the link here.
I feel like we're living in an episode of the Twilight Zone and everyone watching is yelling at the TV as the clueless characters are about to open the door to a closet where the monster is hiding. “Don’t go in there,” they scream! Yet, despite the ominous signs, we open the door and get mauled. And the worst part is we keep opening the doors where the monsters are lurking – over and over again. When will we learn our lesson?
If you’ve got a better plan (or any plan at all), I’d really love to hear it.