I promised one more entry on the topic—and it’s taken me a long time to produce it. Not because I don’t know what I am thinking but because it is so complicated and difficult to say what I want to say.
However, it is really simple. Here are two proofs of that statement. First, Michael Moore—with whom I agree on many things even if his excessive and sometimes faulty leaps of logic drive me nut—has written an op-ed piece in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/opinion/moore-the-obamacare-we-deserve.html?_r=0) entitled “The Obamacare We Deserve.”
His conclusion—Obamacare is awful. And, as usual, he’s right. He also says “Obamacare is a godsend.” And, again, he’s right.
I agree with Michael Moore because we both agree on what the real solution is to the mess we’re in—a single payer system with universal coverage. Maybe now you get a flash of why I say this problem is so complicated. Because it’s really simple.
Some years ago, when I worked for the state medical society (which is the corollary of what the American Medical Association is on the national level) I got in a discussion with one of the physician with whom I worked closely on a major committee. I mention the connection to the AMA intentionally—when Medicare was being developed in the mid-1960s, one of the fiercest and most vociferous opponents was the AMA. They fought tooth and nail to defeat “socialized medicine.” They lost, but the mindset remained very strong among physicians to oppose any type of single payer universal coverage insurance.
In the discussion with the physician leader, I said I thought we should have a single payer health insurance system in the U.S.—to which he replied—Oh, no. We wouldn’t want to ration care in this country. To which I replied—we already do. We ration care by who can pay.
In my previous posts on “The Mess We’re In” I pointed out that one of the things that the ACA was trying to fix was the need for universal coverage. With provisions such as “no one can be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions” and “everyone must secure insurance coverage,” the ACA has attempted to address universal coverage.
There are so many topics I haven't covered--e.g. cost shifting: hospitals which provide care to the uninsured but cost-shift to cover the expenses, meaning we have ALL been paying for the uninsured; the pharmaceutical industry which charges outrageously for drugs, and even changes the prices of long-standing meds--recently inhalers, which have been off-patent for year, suddenly jumped in price...because the drug company making them just decided to boost the price...because it could.
On and on--but I really want to write about other topics from time to time.