I’ve been in Europe for a couple of weeks now and I keep getting asked about US Healthcare. It’s in the news every day and everyone seems to have an opinion. Here’s a fact that I think many of us need to accept.
If you are gainfully employed and enjoying the benefits of a solid PPO insurance plan, it is unlikely that you can maintain your current quality of care and level of access to care as the nation moves to a better solution for everyone. If you are unwilling to budge on this, then you are part of a problem that cannot be solved. (Yes, my family enjoys PPO coverage and yes, I am willing to downgrade our care to meet the uninsured in the middle.)
Please note that I am very similar to some of you imaginary readers in many regards. I support free markets, I favor small government, and I do not wish to create public support programs that encourage a lazy life of free loading. However, we need to get the overall costs of healthcare under control and when about a third of our citizens cannot seek care for emerging problems, we have no choice but to treat them when they arrive at an expensive, emergency state of poor health. If we can get everyone access to earlier, routine care, then we can control costs and work toward improving standards going forward.
If that is Socialism then I guess I am a socialist when it comes to healthcare.
Just to finish that point. I am a capitalist in general and I agree with the old adage “capitalism is the worst form of economic structure except for all the others that have been tried”. Nonetheless, I don’t think that a pure free market yields good care for all. In fact, a free market is only designed to yield spoils to the winners; only the successful get BMW’s, the adequate get Honda’s, and the losers join the lazy and the unlucky on foot.
For automobile’s, this works fine and everyone gets where they are going eventually. For healthcare, the consequences of “poor performance” in the market can be both dire and immutable; a bit of structure is required to keep the population at its healthiest and most productive. That is best for all of us.