Update: found this blog thanks to a post on Facebook :What if Collapse came and nobody noticed?
We really got into politics during class. Particularly the politics of health care, insurance, and why we don’t have socialized medicine.
I think I am the most politically aware person in class.
What we have is a two tiered health care system. And too many doctors and providers – indeed too many health care staff period – to serve the few who can afford our high tech health care system. What we’re facing is a crash.
Some of my classmates were outraged that France (and other nations like them with socialized care) does not pay for things like dialysis or heart surgery for those over 75 (for France, not sure about other countries), instead choosing to spend that public money on sectors of their society who still have a chance to be productive and contribute for many years to come. They just refused to understand that those same French elderly CAN afford, like most of their society, to purchase private insurance that DOES allow them to receive those treatments. They are not denied them, they are merely on their own to pay for them. My classmates were insistent that it should be on a case by case basis. Really? How cost effective is that? And how can one not understand that their system, BECAUSE it is offered to every citizen, allows them a much freer life without the stress of trying to navigate the health care system and worrying about how they’ll pay for their care? How can one not understand that insurance is so very much less expensive even when purchased for the simple reason that it’s NOT required? How can one not understand that the French have a longer life span, even so, than we in the U.S.?
How can one not understand that in the U.S., we spend 9o% of ALL THE MONEY SPENT on health care for a person in the LAST YEAR of life? How does that make for sound fiscal policy?
Regardless, even those systems are on the verge of crash. Look at Spain, where they just recently declared they will no longer offer health care benefits for illegal aliens. Look at the controversy here in AMERICA where people are outraged at that – like we have any sort of a higher ground to stand on? We don’t even offer services to all of our citizens, let alone illegal aliens, and people here have the gall to be outraged that Spain is doing what it needs to in order to attempt to preserve some sort of health care for its actual citizens? It will crash soon, violently. And they too will have a two tiered health care system with far too many medical providers and staff.
Some classmates were dubious because they thought they would be told where to work and would make less money if they were employed in a socialized system like Canada’s. Since I have in law family in Edmonton, when they started saying how awful a system it was because people had to wait so long for treatments and surgeries, I called BS on that. I explained that issues that affect nothing but one’s quality of life may have to wait, but issues that affect life and death get first priority. Unlike here, where those that have the most money go first, regardless of the seriousness of their issue. And that in Canada, there is still a thriving private practice of doctors and nurses, it’s not illegal as far as I know to purchase private insurance and many Canadians actually do purchase it just in case. The key here is that it’s optional, not mandatory, and even if they don’t purchase it they’re covered via the public option anyway. It seems the Canadians they treat here in the American hospitals – who are being treated courtesy of the health insurance that it’s mandatory they purchase if they are traveling here – like to gripe. And misrepresent a very good system.
Regardless, it’s going to crash.
Why do I keep saying it’s going to crash? Well, for the simple reason that taxes are dependent on employment; other things as well, but primarily on that. And employment is down everywhere in the Western world. 50% of Spanish young adults are unemployed. More than 24% of the population is unemployed. These people aren’t paying the taxes they were, and they’re drawing on public benefits paid for by taxes. How long do you think that can continue? And it’s the same everywhere. Demands on the system keep going up but tax revenues aren’t rising at the same rate.
It’s even worse here in America. We offer subsidies to banks, coal and gas companies, oil companies, insurance companies, car manufacturers, ‘green’ energy companies, agribusiness, … the list goes on. Plus what we spend on keeping our military overstaffed, because to make our military smaller would mean releasing massive numbers of angry young men (and women) who are overly familiar with firearms and accustomed to viewing life through the lens of the conquering occupier, onto our streets with no jobs for them. We can’t afford to offer any sort of safety net (such as it is here) to our citizens when they need it, because we’re tapped out doing all of that. It’s going to crash. It’s bound to.
And the idea that Americans don’t buy into it is because we’re supposedly so ‘independent’ is utterly and completely crap. Independent? As in not following fashion trends…? As in not watching the Kardashians, and others equally insipid and irrelevant…? As in not tweeting our every boring move…? As in not merely parroting what we hear and see on the news….? Riiiight. We may have been independent 100+ years ago, but not for a long time. And this country was ripe for socializing medicine at the turn of the 20th century, but the AMA got involved in undermining that, and now they get to reap what they sowed so long ago. Shitty reimbursement, other people telling them what is and isn’t approved for medical treatment, and the reality that in order to survive they have to work for a big corporation and be just a cog in a really big machine instead of an independent, wealthy, respected individual who offered an important SERVICE to their community. Which, by the way, are they very bogeymen the AMA invoked to prevent our country getting any sort of socialized medicine all the way down the line. The only time they lost was when Medicare and Medicaid were passed by Congress. Only it’s not the government imposing those restrictions on doctors now, like they claimed, it’s insurance companies…after all, the insurance companies have stockholders and bottom lines to protect.
I looked up how much it would cost me to get insurance – because since quitting my full time job I no longer have any – through the ObamaCare Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan. It would be a minimum of $240 per month. For the two of us it would be nearly $500 per month. That’s just not feasible, and to think that I’ll be assessed a tax penalty because even at this price (as opposed to the nearly $2000 per month it would otherwise cost me) it’s too expensive makes me feel trapped.
Medicare benefits for all – the true public option – is the only answer, and it’s not the answer because our system is unsustainable. So as you can see, there is no answer, only a soon to be overabundance of plastic surgeons, aesthiticians, orthopedic surgeons, and dermatologists and no primary care for the great majority of regular citizens. Prices will come down, dramatically, but still most of us won’t be able to afford care. Maybe the system will keep lumbering on for a long time yet, and the crash will be slow and gentle, more like a ride down a hill than a step off a cliff. Maybe.
And what do I think I’m doing furthering my education? Just to do my best for the people I live among. I have never been out to get rich, just to get by. What do I expect for all of my sacrifice to become an NP? Just to be able to pay my own bills, and to be able to help those who come to me to live the most healthy life they can. You know, a life of service.
What is the answer?
I wish I knew.
I wish I still believed in the ability of the system to be responsive to the needs of its citizens and to change. I hate politics.