Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Some thoughts on health care and gov't bureaucracy

Written to a friend:


I appreciate your sentiment ("I'd rather buy my own health insurance). Though I question one idea: "whatever the government runs costs more" ... careful analysis of the big companies in America reveal tons of fraud, cost-overrides, not to mention inflated salaries, and billions going to investors rather than products, research and worker safety and benefits. When it comes down to it, gov't is very efficient, though the sheer size of it boggles the mind.

One of the incredible myths created in America in recent decades is gov't. bureaucracy ... but gov't bureaucracy is kid's play compared to the giant corporations like Bank of America, or Boeing or IBM, and they have no sunshine laws; they operate under the radar screen of public scrutiny. Every day, the newspaper biz section has articles detailing the shady underside of American biz, and it's not a pretty picture. Big biz can build a car, but when it comes to the social network of care, we need gov't.

My friends in Europe are amazed at the waste and fraud in our private sector, and millions of people suffering for want of insurance, or an insurance package with a monstrous deductible.

The danger we face is radical individualism, or isolation from one another, sort of a "I got mine," and while we might express concern for others, we avoid writing the kinds of legislation that translates our concern into the social network of care for one another.

But who would want to pay for their own roads, or be responsible for their own fire and police protection, or an ambulance run, not to mention the military protecting us ... or the national and state parks.

I want my airlines well-regulated, I want roads, and I want good healthcare for my neighbors, across the street and across town, and we'll all be the better for it.

And who knows, when gov't begins to pay the healthcare tab, we might finally see action on all the junk-food we eat, our poor nutrition (especially for children), high-corn syrup, sodium and fat content.

Europeans eat healthier because gov't healthcare keeps far better taps on what's eaten, and promotes healthy diets, and insures that even the poorest have easy access to good nutrition, natal care and healthcare.

There's no heaven on earth, but too many Americans live in a healthcare hell ... and we can do better.

Sorry to be so long-winded Judy, but this is serious stuff for me.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Tom, I'm always amazed at the ease with which people believe and repeat obviously wrong statements.(I don't know "Judy" and I am not writing in response to her but am writing generally) It is obvious that not all business is better run than government agencies. As you rightly point out. Big Three automakers anyone?
There are things that government does well and there are things that only government can do.

What distresses me the most in our healthcare discussion is the hard heartedness of Christians. It seems to me our starting point ought to be agreement that all persons deserve access to health care and then we can have the debate about how best to do that. The 'get your own health care or suffer' attitude that is so common in so many discussions saddens me. When did we become so cruel? We are, in fact, our brothers keeper.