February 8th, 2011

Saturn Ring Blues

Health Care

Jim Hines posted a sensible reaction to the current health care debate on his blog today.  Generally I don't post on politically charged topics here (well, I do post about education), mostly because I've watched too many ugly exchanges in the comments sections, and there are way too many nut jobs trolling the net, waiting for an opportunity to throw gasoline on a fire.

I do have trouble, though, with the huge number of people who are uninsured in this country, and what is happening to the insured.  I'm a public employee of our school system.  I have insurance that many people do not, but my monthly premiums are outrageous, and my deductible is so large that if any of my family members were actually sick enough to get to the point where my insurance kicked in, I would be bankrupt.

barbarienne , one of the commenters on Jim's site said, "I can't get past the perception that people opposed to health care are either EVIL, willing to let others die so that they can have a little more money, or TERMINALLY STUPID, just plain refusing to even try to comprehend reality." 

As a place to initiate discussion, this position is a non-starter, but I understand the feeling.  How could anybody, anybody at all, believe that proposals to provide health care for more people is a bad idea?  How could anybody, anybody at all, believe that our current system that uses private insurance companies who are incentivized to deny coverage to the sick, who are incentivized to deny claims, who make paying for health care a nightmare (a moderate hospital stay can take months to sort out) and who rakes in millions in profit every year be a good system?

No health care system is perfect, but there are plenty of examples in the world of health care systems that are better than ours.  What puzzles me is that one party can actually make political headway by arguing the system should not be redone.  Of course, this is the same party that thought Sarah Palin should be a heartbeat away from the presidency.  That 45% of the voters in America thought that Palin was a choice they could live with also baffled me.

I don't know that the health bill is the right solution, but it does seem clear to me that it is the right direction.  Universal health care is not a pipe dream.  It should be the obvious goal.