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Point of Order: Universal Healthcare

I'm a big fan of the notion "if you're going to screw up, you might as well screw up in a major way, and at least you will have taken a chance for radical change." But, there is a limit, and that would be common sense. To that end, I'd like to cry "foul!" and declare a point of order in the so-called "universal healthcare" debate.

To those idiot politicians, such as from the grand states of Massachusetts and California, please take note: Requiring people to buy health insurance IS NOT universal healthcare coverage.

Let me say this again, in different way: If healthcare coverage is not simply provided as a benefit from the government, but it is instead simply a legal requirement for people to purchase it (kind of like car insurance), then it is not universal, nor fair, nor is it particularly American. With car insurance, you can opt not to own or drive a car. Where's the opt-out clause in a law requiring all people to have insurance? No, indeed, if the government isn't paying for it, then it's not really a benefit being provided. I'm oversimplifying a bit, and slightly overstating things, but the point is that the Middle Class once again gets the short end of the deal in such a requirement, because they will have too much income to receive free or significantly discounted/subsidized insurance, and they'll not make enough to afford really good insurance, which puts us right back where we are today, which is essentially screwed... again...

Now, I understand that one way or another we'd all be paying for it, with taxes and all that. But what I think people need to understand is this: everyone should be afforded a base degree of medical coverage without an unfair expectation of severe, life-shattering debt. At the same time, one needs to balance the means for incentivizing medical research and students to pursue a medical profession.

My guess is that the reality will be akin to that of India, where anyone can go to a public hospital and receive treatment. However, for better, more prompt treatment, people of means will instead go to private practitioners, perhaps bringing along a credit of some sort, to help foot the bill, but otherwise pay out of pocket for the service, or for supplementary insurance.

The key, then, becomes in making sure that public hospitals are as efficient and beneficial as is possibly on the government dole, without introducing a burden that is so excessive to the taxpayers that it becomes unsustainable (kind of like Social Security).

Just some off-the-cuff thoughts...


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