U.S. Healthcare – The Choice Should Be Ours

Barack and Hillary during CNN debate in Austin, Texas

Let’s get right to the point – what will this presidential nomination mean for the future of healthcare in the United States? The answer is very much up for debate because nobody really knows. Everyone talks about “universal healthcare,” but what does that really mean? The only real way for healthcare to attain true universality is for the central government of the United States of America to fully and truly socialize healthcare. Imagine that, the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the Earth with socialized healthcare where every man, woman and child would never have to worry about going to the doctor. Imagine, using our insurmountable wealth to support the most advanced medical techniques and technology in the world. Imagine…. Okay, back to reality. According to The New York Times Online edition of February 23rd, 2008 it seems “universal healthcare” means, a battle between affordable healthcare mixed with free choice, and healthcare coverage being the law.

Barack and Hillary speak about covering everyone, but they seem to have different methods. Basically, Obama wants to lower the price tag for insurance, while Hillary wants to demand everyone have health coverage. They both agree that children should be fully covered, no questions asked, which is more than I can say for a certain lame-duck President. Oh, and the Republicans (there are some Republicans out there running for president) are a bit silent on the issue from what I gather (I’ll let that be commentary on how the media are covering Republican based issues). So for now, back to Barack and Hillary.

I’ve check both health plans via the postings each Democrat have placed on their websites, and am impressed with them both. But as The New York Times Online article author, Kevin Sack, highlights, Obama’s plan seems to give a bit more choice in that healthcare isn’t a mandate. Hillary seems to want to make it law for everyone to have healthcare.

Hillary Demands You For U.S. Healthcare System

Now, while I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to have healthcare, I can’t argue with a persons right to choose for themselves what they want. The one thing I say is, if you walk into a hospital and need care you’d better have the money to pay for it. If you want to roll the dice and invest your money in your classic cars fetish instead of stockpiling that cash for a possible hospital visit, then so be it. Just be prepared for the hidden costs of that hobby. In the end though, if this country is truly a nation built on the idea of democracy and the freedom to make your own decisions, then why would you mandate that everyone have healthcare? Give people the option to do what they want. Make it affordable so they can’t resist. If they continue to resist because they don’t want to give up another luxury, then place the burden of care on them.

Barack For The Peoples’ Choice

This is why I support Barack over Hillary. People need and want healthcare, but I don’t think people want that healthcare shoved down their throats. It could cause them to go to the hospital, which they wouldn’t have the coverage for.

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  1. Colleen
    February 27, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    And this is why I support Clinton over Obama. 🙂

    I do think health care should be mandatory. A lot of this is my personal experience. When I was laid off, I decided to opt of health care coverage, because, even though it was cheap I couldn’t justify spending the money on that when I needed it to buy food and gas so I could job hunt. These weren’t luxuries. I saw it as a temporary thing. Then, I was diagnosed with cancer. With no insurance. And boy was I screwed. No one deserves to go through that. No one.

    Stupid choice? Oh yes. Would I ever go without again? Hell no. But can I see many Americans who NEED care going without because they instead choose to spend their money elsewhere? Oh yes.

    I’d rather have the gov’t responsible for this, honestly. I don’t trust the health insurance companies enough for them to make it affordable enough that everyone will sign on. Unless it was free, there will always be people that resist. And part of the reason is that we call it insurance. That bugs me more than anything else. Insurance should be used for those things that can be helped. But we’re all mortal. We will all get sick and we all will die. We truely need to shift our thinking (and our economics) to the health CARE route.

    I have no problem with the socialization of things like, firefighting and education. It’s a public good. It totally makes sense to mandate health care. After all, we mandate drivers licenses. A best care scenario would be for the gov’t to just take over, but that’s not realistic. So I view Hillary’s plan as a step in that direction. A prioritization of health care that uses some of the processes already in place.

  2. February 27, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Colleen,

    You know, in Japan health care is mandated for all Japanese citizens. And if you have a family the head of the household is required to cover the entire family for as long as they need. The kids can come off that insurance when they are like 20 or something. Japan also has private insurance companies, but no one except expats really use them. The hospitals are so used to dealing with the national system they are confused when anything else is presented to them. The system is really simple, 70/30. The government pays 70%, and you pay the 30%. There are some finer details, but for the most part the coverage is there.

    A second example, that goes even further is Cuba. Say what you want about Fidel Castro, but the health care system in Cuba is a gem to applauded. Basically, every last dollar, that doesn’t go into Castro coffers, goes into health care. The people live in poverty and oppression, but they live in healthy poverty and oppression. An oxymoron, maybe, but it seems to function.

    I firmly agree that health care should be socialized. End of story. Pay the doctors a set salary mandated by the government and let it go. Instead of using my tax dollars for a war machine give it to the hospitals. And preach preventative health care as well. But, unfortunately that seems to be out of the realm of the thinking for our leadership.

    With Hillary’s plan I just wonder where all the money is going to come from if people don’t have the money to pay for health care? She talks about subsidies and what not, but from where? Get us out of Iraq and maybe that would help. And also, what if someone, even after a subsidy doesn’t have the money to put into health care. Who pays?

    I think Obama’s plan is the step before Hillary’s plan. Barack wants universal care but I think he is a bit more realistic than Hillary. Funny, with 35 years experience, I think Hillary forgets that change sometimes takes longer, unfortunately. I think Hillary’s plan is step 2, and Barack’s plan is step 1. Make the health care affordable right now. Get the kids on it for sure, and then open the system to adults of all ages. Kids are far more dependent in general, so they really need the coverage. You can’t walk before you crawling, and you can’t run before walking. We are still at the crawling stages, for good or for bad. I think eventually Americans just need to buckle up and pay the taxes. The Swedes do it. The French do it. The Japanese do it. The Cubans don’t have a choice, but at least it gets done.

    Peace

  3. Colleen
    February 28, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Well, where is the money for Barack’s plan going to come from?

    I agree though. Taxes. I don’t mind them, in all honesty. And stop spending billions in Iraq.

  4. February 29, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Barack says, he will use money gained from the end of the war (as does Hillary). Barack though doesn’t really preach mandating health care, except for kids, as much just bringing down the cost. He talks more long term like giving tax breaks for health care facilities that modernize their facilities. Actually, Hillary will do the same, from what I’ve read. Barack will also back preventative care. He makes it an emphasis of his health care plan – education.

    The real difference between Hillary and Barack is that Hillary is hell bent on insuring every American regardless. I just think that is a bit ludicrous! Funny, we have come to the day when hoping for universal health care is ludicrous. Another similarity though is they both want to work with insurance companies to make the system work. I think Barack proposed that first, or maybe Hillary, in any case they both advocate that now.

    In the end, I just think Barack’s plan is more implementable right now. And actually, I’m not knocking Hillary’s plan, it has real balls, but the economic infrastructure really isn’t in-place for this plan, unfortunately.

    Peace

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