First, let’s talk about what the diatribe focused on the effort to defund and destroy the Affordable Care Act is NOT really about.
It is NOT about the failure of the rollout.
It is NOT about the cancellation of policies by a variety of insurance companies.
It is NOT about the President’s statement regarding keeping a policy you like.
It is NOT about using Medicare dollars to fund new programs.
It is NOT about socialized medicine, or the government takeover of one-sixth of the American economy.
It is NOT about a conspiracy to destroy the world’s finest medical system.
It is NOT about the national debt.
It is NOT about people having to pay more for their health care.
There are serious answers to all of these issues, but they are NOT what the debate is really about. This column will not attempt to answer these Republican talking points with Administration talking points. Each one can be argued, and getting into that non-rational debate would be futile.
Let me lay out what I believe is really at the heart of the attacks.
The fight to defund or destroy the Affordable Care Act is a smokescreen developed to hide the real issue. The central but rarely discussed issue is whether healthcare is a human right or is only the privilege of those having the economic capacity to afford it. Any legislation focused on securing health care covering substantial numbers of the currently uninsured would receive the same treatment as has Obamacare.
For decades the vast majority of modern progressive nations have provided comprehensive medical insurance. In most cases it has been national governments which have instituted some form of universal coverage, believing that health care is a right, not a privilege. These national systems have been put in place in capitalist nations, socialist nations and nations with mixed economies. Currently the United States may be the only industrialized nation not to provide universal coverage.
The result of this reluctance is evidenced in two major statistical indices. Our per-person costs for health care are almost twice as high as any of the other nations. The domestic exception is found in Medicare, whose administrative costs are 3% compared to almost 20% in our for-profit medical community.
The other index comes from the World Health Organization, which using a broad systemic analysis, lists, in order of effectiveness, the health care provided by the nations of the world. The United States comes out 37th! The 36 nations ahead of us all have some form of comprehensive coverage.
While it is true that wealthy people who want quicker treatment may come here seeking private care, it is at the expense of the high percentage of our people who have little coverage beyond the emergency room, for which we all pay big bucks. Those who think that the US has the world’s best, least expensive medical system have not experienced what most other modern nations have to offer.
The hard fact is that those objecting to the Affordable Care Act do not believe it is in the national interest to medically protect all our citizens. This is the same mentality that objected to Social Security, Medicare and every other effort to secure human rights for the great majority of our people. If I am wrong, where is the plan by these objectors, which covers all the American people? There is no such plan.
Obamacare has provided a good target. It can be picked apart. It has flaws and it is legitimate to point them out. The national task is to fix them. But I believe the current diatribes are not about Obamacare but about the simple human right of every citizen to have affordable decent insured medical care. Most of us believe in that right, while the attackers do not. It is not just this law they are fighting, but any proposal which would safeguard the health of all our people.