Monday, May 25, 2009

How To Reform Health Care In A Minute

As I was walking on the street today, I was approached by a friendly young person with a clipboard, a telltale clue that either my signature or donation, or both, were being sought. Since I was in a hurry, I quickened my pace, darted my eyes to the side, and hoped I could elude my well-meaning solicitor. Watching me go from 0 to 60, he let out a last ditch plea, "Have a minute to reform health care?"

My first thought was: Is that how long it takes to change our ridiculously expensive and inefficient health care system? A minute? Maybe instead of months of hearings and discussion groups, Democrats and Republicans could take a minute to settle this thing.
They could just say "Single payer. Just like Medicare. Universal health care. Government pays for it. Employers don't." And they'd still have 30 seconds left over to pat themselves on the back.

Health care reform really could get done that quickly, except that almost no one is even putting a single payer plan on the table to consider. Even the public program to compete with the existing private plans proposal is criticized by Republicans and Democrats in the pocket of the insurance companies, because it's (gasp) GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE!

Do those who hate the thought of GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE really LOVE what we have now? Do they sit around and think, "Boy, do I love Oxford! Oh, and that Aetna is pretty fantastic too."

I know what some of you are thinking. "That sounds like France-do you want us to be like France?" Actually since France's health care system was ranked No. 1 by the World Health Organization, my answer is "Yes!". And their baguettes are pretty good too.
"But that's SOCIALISM!. Do you want us to be like Norway" Well, considering the fact that Norway has been called the country with the happiest people, maybe that wouldn't be such a bad idea. I don't care if our health care system is socialist, liberal, conservative, Democratic or Republican. I just want every American to have access to the very best health care at a very affordable rate. And single payer, GOVERNMENT RUN health care is the best way to do it.

Insurance companies shouldn't run our health care. They should run the Defense Department. Because I'd like to see some non-covered expenses when it comes to war. When we plan to drop bombs that inadvertently kill Afghan civilians, it would be great if an insurance company could step in and say, "Uh-Uh. That's not covered. You can't drop those bombs."

Both Democrats and Republicans are missing the boat if they don't consider the single payer Government health plan. Some Republicans support universal health care only for stem cells. And some Democrats insist that a government run plan should keep the features of a private insurance plan. Sure, why would you want to eliminate that good 'ol waste, inefficiency, inaccessibility and unfairness of our present failed system?

And why doesn't corporate America jump on the single payer bandwagon? If GM and Chrysler didn't have to spend billions on health care, they might actually be able to make some money, instead of having to terminate dealers who've been with them for decades.

All I'm asking is that we give single payer government health care a fair hearing. After all, it's not healthy to keep good ideas from getting some air.