Friday, April 15, 2011

A single payer health care system

There is no such thing as a free market in health care and I am tired of hearing people talk about something that doesn’t exist.

We have state and national medical associations, insurance companies, and federal and state governments through Medicare and Medicaid that approve treatments and recommend prices.

Health care is a demand based business. It is not an option. When you are sick you don’t shop around for cheaper treatment, even if it existed. A heart attack demands immediate attention. There are no “Broken bones set Thursday Special(s)!”

So, my conservative friends let us quit lying about the subject.

And given that, through the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid, we have decided health care is a Right, the only question is how much we pay and how shall we pay it.

The amount should be enough to properly reward people who are smart enough to become doctors and nurses and dedicated enough to undergo the years of study and associated costs.

And that amount is more now than it was in 1950 when heart attacks were almost always fatal or the precursor of one in the near future. Improved positive expectations in any situation leads to a willingness to pay more.

So the issues are how much and how do we make the payment.

Now my Leftie friends will say, “Tax the rich,” and I admit that is a nice thought. The problem, of course, is that there aren’t enough rich, so what they mean is, “Tax everyone but the poor.” The problem with that is that no can define what poor means. Should it be the same as FIT? You know, a family of four making around $40K or less pays nothing?

The problem there is this. How do we insure those who engage in illegal activities, such as dope dealers, prostitution services and oil speculators pay their fair share? I mean if we say that a shot up dope dealer’s life deserves the same treatment as a postman supporting a family for four, shouldn’t the dope dealer pay? I mean fair is fair, isn’t it?

I say that we use a National Sales Tax collected at the RETAIL point of sale (this is not a VAT). To put some fairness into the collection we could exempt unprepared food, utility bills under $200, used cars over 4 years old and other items that impact the working poor more than the rich.

What shall we use as a system to deliver the care and administrate it? Well, we already have that in place. It’s called Medicare.

Now, that wasn’t hard, was it?

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"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." - Karl Popper

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.” - William Pitt

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