Along the Pentland Road, 25 May 2017

Monday, 22 March 2010

Healthcare debate

Over in the States, the House of Representatives has passed a Bill, aimed to alter the way people in the US can access healthcare. Until now, about 20% of US citizens did not have access to healthcare insurance for various reasons. President Obama has fought hard to get this legislation passed, and it has proven to be a seriously divisive issue in America.

I was absolutely stunned to note the ferocity of the opposition to this law, and (to my untutored mind) appears to centre on the average American's distrust of the state and unwillingness to pay tax. There is also an attitude, going back to the 19th century, that everybody has to stand up for themselves (as nobody else would do so), and people who will not or cannot are just lazy lay-abouts. The S-word has also come up (socialism), and the fact that some fear the prospect that the USA will become like a European nanny state.

I am heavily biased, as living in one of those European nanny states, where you can access healthcare without it costing you an arm and a leg. The only contributions (at point of uptake) that you can be expected to make in primary care are for medicines and dentistry. Otherwise, you make national insurance contributions, as employer as well as employees, which pays in large measure for healthcare in the UK.

Over in Holland, there is a system where people pay a compulsory premium to the healthcare system (not in tax, but directly). In addition, depending on income, you may be compelled to take out private healthcare insurance. In the UK, private healthcare insurance is optional and often seen to be the prerogative of the rich.

Generally speaking, it is a government's duty to look after the wellfare of its citizens, and to make sure that mechanisms are in place which will enable said citizens to access healthcare. Those that are financially unable to do so, should be offered a way to get the healthcare they need. To deny a full 20% of the population access to healthcare insurance is neglectful (and I'm deliberately omitting choice adjectives before neglectful) and a dereliction of duty.

It is time for America to move out of the pioneer era, out of the wagons, the period of the Injuns and the US Cavalry. Out of the McCarthy era, with its shameful persecutions of people who were deemed to be holding left-wing sympathies. It is time for everybody to take responsibility for those who are less fortunate, through no fault of their own. Join the 21st century.

5 comments:

  1. Interesting commentary. I agree that there are some very hostile reactions to this health care plan which I am a little non plussed over, but I think that these people will probably find out they are not going to be as injured as they think they will. My policy is not to take great offense to something that is going to be law and to try to live with it. I objected to abortion funding and hope that they have got that limited but most of the people are arguing about how this will change their own coverage it sounds to me like.

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  2. I have been reading a couple of journals where this debate has been quite strongly against Obama getting his way on this bill.
    If I am honest Guido I want to thank you by putting a point of view across that I agree with but was unable to put into such succinct words myself.
    I can take quite a detour on getting to the point sometimes. lol
    Jeanie

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  3. This was a very well-put entry Guido! I, too, have been stunned by the amount of hateful debate over this issue. I don't see it as anything but good. I know there are some Americans who are simply anti anything they see as Democrat or Obama-sponsored. There are those who don't want to support anyone else but themselves. There are those who have entangled this issue with the immigration or illegal alien issues. There are some who are just scared of change. We have insurance through Thomas' work where we pay a nominal fee each month, and have a copay and a deductible. We are lucky, but that could end at any time. As a matter of fact, one of the issues being negotiated right now at his company is over health insurance. The company wants the employees to pay for their whole coverage, and the union of course wants it to continue as it is. I am glad the bill was passed, and I hope it works for the good of all. I also hope, now that it has been passed, that those against it will at least shut up and wait to see what happens. I mean, how can universal health care be a *bad* thing?

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  4. Thank you Gudio, That was a well written article...(do you ever do otherwise)...It was beyond my understanding what all the fuss was about. Undoubtedly there are many people that are so set against Obama that they will not support him in any curcumstances..
    Love Sybil x

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  5. I appreciated your article as a citizen in the US I do agree. If a government is not concerned about the health and welfare of it citizens then it is a poor excuse and on the verge of collapse in my opinion. I have not heard or read about all of what the bill will encompass, but I'm sure there will be much said in the days to come. I've been blessed to be able to have affordable care in the past as my employer has always provided insurance for me, but there are many that don't have that and many that go without.

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