24 May 2011
Health Care, Again or is it Still?
Do the American people believe that universal health care access is a good thing? That is the radical health care issue facing our country today. If the answer is "yes," then the voters, politicians, providers, manufacturers and financiers will know what the end result must be. For now, we need to watch Vermont and Massachusetts, because those states seem to have decided how they will address the moral imperative of ensuring that all of their citizens have access to health care.
What if a state decides that "no, universal health care access is not a morally right thing?" I cannot recall anyone saying that they would deny access to care except when arguing the issue from a libertarian or capitalist political perspective. Yet, unless the debate is re-framed to address the moral issue of health care access, vested interests in the current, sub-optimal system will win.
Our President sends a legislative package to Congress to reform our national health care system and the result is a miss-mash of tweaks and changes that changes procedures and mandates, but not the system. As T. R. Reid points out, "All the other countries like us--that is, wealthy, technologically advanced, industrialized democracies--guarantee medical care to anyone who gets sick. Countries . . . have concluded that everybody has the right to health care--and they provide it." [Reid, T. R., The Healing of America: a Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Medical Care. Kindle, Penguin Press, 2010. Prologue] We do not have a consensus on the definition of the best public health outcome or goal for the citizens of the United States.
Unless we know what moral result we want to achieve, how can we expect to design and promote the means to get there? It is time to change the discussion.