Thursday, August 13, 2009

One more health care post

Since my last post stimulated comments and a few emails from folks I'd not heard from before, as well as from my daughter and several of my blog friends, I'm going to take one more brief foray into the topic.

(Well, that's my plan NOW. Who knows HOW many additional forays I might take? I often repeat the quote attributed to President Reagan, "Never say never." It's corollary has to be -- although I just made this up -- "Never say always.")

(What? You don't know what a corollary is? Well, it's like a coronary, but not as serious.)

Anyhoo, speaking of coronaries, back to health care!

It's really tough to filter through all the arguments for and against government involvement in our health care system industry MESS ( . . . pick your own descriptive noun, or just leave it blank -- works either way). Which ones are real, and which ones are hype? Is it 47 million uninsured Americans, or 57 million (the number seems to go up weekly). Are the doctors at fault, or maybe the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, the malpractice lawyers, etc., etc.

To me, most of the hype and horror stories we hear are overblown. The issue really boils down in most cases to access versus cost. To hammer access ("Everyone should have access to quality health care!") while ignoring cost is not just stupid, it's immoral. But likewise to hammer (and try to artificially, through legislation and controls, limit) costs while ignoring access will result in the situations found in other countries with months-long waits to see a specialist or have needed testing done.

How do we achieve the balance needed between access and cost?

I don't know.

But I have little faith in our government to achieve it, whether in typical partisan division or through a coalition of the parties. Politics, and favors, and hidden agenda of all kinds are just too engrained in our elected representatives in D.C. to allow, I fear, the kind of well thought-out policies and programs it will take. (BTW, I'm and old-schooler and using "agenda" as a plural of "agendum," although I know that usage has fallen out of favor).

And unfortunately, our president's hard pushing for quick action may further doom any slight chance that achieving such balance may have had.

So I fear that we may indeed never have a government-instituted health care plan that provides wide access at a reasonable (affordable!) cost.

There. I broke my own rule. I said (wrote) "never." Shame on me.


kenju said...

I am a bit less pessimistic than you, John, but maybe that is my naivete showing. I keep hoping that the powers that be will forget their ties to the pharmaceutical companies and vote to help the people!!

Jack K. said...

Thanks for succinctly laying out the predicament. My guess is that the politicians aren't all the sure on how to solve the situation either.

The adage in criminal investigations regarding the purloining of funds, Follow the money is appropriate here.

I haven't figured out yet how to word my next posting which will be a first on this subject. You have given me some inspiration. Thanks.

Wouldn't be interesting in the next election if every, and I mean EVERY incumbent were voted out? Hmmmm.

Nankin said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. The government is notoriously bad at handling such programs. What makes them think they can run a healthcare plan?