Universal Healthcare – It Baffles Me
This is the third post in a series of fundamental changes we can and should make to have a lasting effect on our society. Last week I covered gun control and made many friends in the past week from the NRA. Now I want to turn my attention to healthcare.
I was born and bred in England, so please excuse me. You enjoy Downton Abbey, The Beatles, and got excited over young Prince George of Cambridge, so don’t pretend we don’t know what we’re doing.
There seems to me that there are certain entitlements if you play the game. By playing the game, I mean work, pay your taxes, and don’t break the laws. In return, your country protects you from foreign invaders who want the rights to Downton Abbey and free season tickets to Manchester United games, give you a sound education so that you can step up in life, and take care of you when you are sick.
The protection and health care are part of what you invest in a social infrastructure as part of paying your taxes. Your soccer tickets are your own problem, but life isn’t perfect. As much as we complain about the National Health System (NHS), and it is far from perfect, there is no such thing as a person going without medical treatment, or losing all their savings to help a family member receive the treatment they need to stay alive.
How is this possible if Brits don’t pay more taxes than Americans? The answer is that the pharmaceutical companies and the medical supplies companies don’t make the astounding profits that are made in this country.
It is greed that is preventing good-standing Americans from receiving what is theirs. Every American is entitled to access to healthcare. It baffles me how this is not accepted. There is no family in America (correct me if I’m wrong) wherein every family member is perfectly healthy and has no need of medical help.
It is a universal need and should therefore be universally accessible.
Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for YA – At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter. For more about the author, check out his website.
Some powerful people in our country don’t seem to understand two basic things:
The first is that health is not necessarily a “choice.” I was 29 years old when I had my first brain hemorrhage, and I was in tip-top physical condition (as far as anyone could tell), I was working on a Ph.D. in Neurobiology, and I was eating healthy food – probably too much carbohydrate, but still. I could not have predicted what was about to happen to me. No way. No how. And you cannot predict when someone will run into your car on the freeway, either. Things change. Sometimes, suddenly.
Second, health is the ultimate “public good.” You benefit from your neighbor’s health, and you may suffer from your neighbor’s lack of health, certainly if it’s something contagious. By neighbor, in this case, I mean anyone that comes near you, or even rode in that taxi just before you did.
We all benefit from each other’s good health. That’s why we should all make it a priority… and pay for it. If you agree that national security is the kind of thing that it makes sense to pay for through taxes, then public health follows exactly the same logic.