Single Payer. Public Option. Private insurance and free markets. It’s pretty hard to make sense of the health care debate sometimes. Especially when the public “discussion” doesn’t even deal with facts. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to get into a debate on all that here).
Those of you who’ve read my past blogs know my politics are far to the left. So of course, I’m all for a single-payer system — or what I prefer to call “socialized medicine.” (“single payer” is gobbledy gook). But regardless of what sort of system one perfers or thinks is best for our country, here’s a few facts.
As a Federal Employee, I have pretty damn good insurance. Any basic appointment for anything is only $20, no questions asked. Vaccinations for the kids, annual checkups, whatever. Prenatal and pregnancy? Covered, 100%. I couldn’t ask for better coverage. No preferred provider in my remote Alaskan town? Submit a simple letter stating that, and the claim gets paid.
Even so, I have had to fight a handful of times over the last 10 years. Like when they considered a mid-pregnancy ultrasound NOT routine care. I said, you show me a single doctor who doesn’t consider it routine! And don’t get me started on the “miscoded” items — when the doctor’s office put the wrong magic number on something that I knew should be covered. I once fought for an entire year over $36, just on a matter of principle. (To Blue Cross’ credit, they are the ones who eventually straightened it out).
Still, the battles have been few over the total time I’ve had this coverage — so overall, I am lucky to have such a great package. BUT, I pay through the nose for it. And my employer pays half! I can’t imagine what kind of coverage I would have if they didn’t — and that is the plight of so many Americans.
So I look at it this way: I am already paying damn good money for my own coverage. If I’m paying anyway, why not pay into a system that helps cover the less fortunate? In other words, taxes. Would that really be so bad? (See my April post “The Price of Civilization” for a discussion on taxes in general).
I know some people are ideologically against taxes and “big government.” But we already have both of those anyhow. So why not revise the system and put those taxes into programs that help the greater good? I know, I know — that flies in the face of the mythological “rugged American individualism” that poisons us. But think about it: what if it were you who needed health care? Or your dear old granny (no death panel coming)? What if you lost your job and coverage along with it, and then you or a family member got cancer?
I’m all for personal responsibility. But there are a few things that are for the common good, that benefit us all. Health care is one of them. Again, since I’m paying anyway, I would just as soon have that money help someone else too. I know that’s awfully socialist of me, but it just seems to make sense.