Healthcare: Who Gets To Live?

The United States Supreme Court decided this week that we don’t have to die if it can be prevented. This CNN report shows the outcomes for those who did not have health coverage prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act. I think this ruling defended my favorite portion of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

The highest court in the country defended the use of financial subsidies for those who otherwise could not afford health insurance. But I’d go a step further and say that the ACA, or Obamacare, is just a compromise to those who would see a wide swath of the American working class not covered for health care, and simply die off when no longer productive.

money for healthPeople typically have health covered by their jobs, a very stupid system. Earlier in the twentieth century companies used employer-sponsored health insurance as an incentive to hire the best employees. Over time, big employers and the insurance industry came to decide who gets treated for health issues. As jobs are sent out of the country, there would be less options for the ill and more medically-induced debt. That debt is money owed to banks, another big employer.

Yes, there are thankfully clinics but not enough to care for every sick person in America. Many years ago I had an awful experience with a clinic and vowed to do whatever it takes to never have to go through that again. In college I got a job at a large retailer with good, union-sponsored health coverage, one of the better decisions in my young life.

So before passage of the Affordable Care Act, with financial subsidies for those who cannot afford insurance, those who had big-business-sponsored health coverage, and the offspring of these people, got the chance to be well. The rest hoped for luck.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Without life, the other two don’t exist.

passing the hat to cover health expensesSo here I am, again about to contribute to a fund for someone’s health care. Crowdfunding sites are being used as a modern passing of the hat to cover expenses related to health issues. I know of one guy whose landlord decided to evict him and his family because he developed cancer. This man, laid off from his job, is so beloved that another former colleague set up a Gofund me and raised more than double what was needed. Even the former employer stepped in to help him navigate the cancer-care minefield.

Some would have us fear socialized medicine but I say, let’s give it a shot. I’d rather see my taxes pay to care for my fellow citizens, not to our politicians. Or is Congress cranky because they have to purchase health insurance like everybody else? Isn’t it in our national interest to be healthy enough to fight for our freedoms? Isn’t it in the best interest of business to hand over the administration of healthcare to Washington?  Everybody, from the top on down, would have the same access to healthcare and the company’s resources would be used to make more money.

Some years ago I was traumatized by a scene on TV: the sick matriarch of a young pioneer family had to live – and eventually die – on the porch so as not to infect her husband and children. I don’t know what that movie was, or maybe it was a TV show, I have no idea. But the image stuck with me. We have evolved. We are better than that.

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