“Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principal of lotteries, dating and religion” – Scott Adams
When the majority of the population cannot access healthcare for whatever the reason, who could gain anything? The share holders for the big insurance companies? The pharmaceutical companies and health-care providers who charge extortionate prices to those insurance companies to the detriment of all other policy holders through horrendously high premiums and conditions on joining. You must apparently be in the peak of health before many will even look at you and woe betide you if you are born with a condition? Having a system which only the rich and upper-middle classes can afford access doesn’t make a noble profession (doctors and nurses) more noble. It cheapens it. It reduces this vocation of compassion and care-giving to the status of the profit-hungry money-grubbers of the banking industry lobbying corporations who seem to run the United States.
Until recently, these insurance companies could refuse people at their most vulnerable and decide that congenital conditions qualified as pre-existing (I know, its mental). Individual mandate – the legal requirement the people buy health insurance or face a fine – means that insurance companies can no longer do this thanks to the supporting The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) which was into law in March 2010, with much opposition from Florida and twelve other states. Thirteen more states followed, as well as the National Federation of Independent Businesses and several individuals. As it stood, people were at serious risk of bankruptcy should they become sick, and unable to work thanks to the lack of affordable medical treatment. Apparently these 25 states believed only the rich deserved access to competent healthcare, with dominant figures asserting time after time the Dickensian ideology that good health is a privilege rather than a basic human right.
This mandate is not the be all and end all of the matter, however. While it prevents insurers from refusing to cover people for specious reasons (mentioned above) it also places an additional burden on the stretched budgets of families who had previously had to choose between insuring themselves against ill-health and injury or putting food on the table for them and their families. I do still think that while he’s on the right track Obama has it round his neck. He’s obviously trying to create a system like the NHS on a continent-wide scale. I admire his ambition. However, the NHS is funded from tax income and is free at the point of use for the whole nation regardless of their current financial situation. The British public are not expected to shell out extra. While insurance funded private care is available to those who want it and can afford it, it is not a compulsory. The upshot of this (along with national insurance funded benefits) is that the whole nation is safe from bankruptcy and financial ruin should they find themselves ill or injured or unable to work. It means that people can get well again and remain functioning members of society and that we avoid the Ayn-Randian objectivist society of allowing the sick and injured to die off in abject poverty, indebted to insurers and medical practitioners, and often left untreated. He has a way to go but it’s a start and I look forward to seeing where it will end up. Kudos also goes to the five Supreme Court Judges who saw that universal healthcare is NOT a socialist plot to topple America.
“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” – Mahatma Ghandi