Minds of state legislators in Connecticut whirr and click as they design a public health insurance option.
This is Good News!! This is “21st Century Thinking”!!
This is thinking, planning, oriented toward creating a society that serves all essential human needs. There is an inter-play, a dynamic, by which citizens whose health care is assured, are less worried, more optimistic, better able to service family and community (and work place) needs.
There is no societal advantage in shutting some citizens out of doctor care. The costs to all of us, to the whole society, is lost function – lost service to family, community, and workplace. These costs are seldom considered during public hype, fear, and frenzy over public health care systems.
Debt, bankruptcy, debilitation and death annually knock thousands of Americans out of general community participation and service. Children lose caregivers, caregivers lose paying jobs if intense care need means someone has to stay home to care for another. Small business people lose employees or businesses close, in which case employees lose. Mortgage and rent payments compete with health care debt. America’s extremely expensive medical system, misses a lot of needs, at high cost to everyone.
Wendell Potter describes the Connecticut intentions and considerations in an article posted today at Huffington Post. Wendell Potter knows health care! He was a vice-president at Cigna for a number of years before he witnessed a “health care fair” in which thousands of uninsured Americans camped in their cars to wait for one (of numerous annually held) mega-sized free-clinic to open. (The facility? Livestock exhibition barns.) Potter resigned his Cigna position, and began to explain, to all who would listen, how the “for profit” system works. His detailed information leaves no doubt – profit drives delivery arrangements and decisions. Not “just a little bit”, not “a reasonable amount”. The mandate to “maximize profit” is aggressive.
I’ve described in other posts my position on public, universal, health care – I’m solidly in favor.
Here’s a re-cap of my Canadian experience: I moved to Canada as a young adult. I spent 40 years benefiting from, and contributing to, universal coverage for all Canadians. I mention ‘as adult’ to point out that throughout my Canadian experience I was well able to notice whether or not the system worked. (My 40 years observation do not include the obliviousness of a young child.)
I now live in the States but continue to pay Canadian annual taxes. My net disposable income hovers at the poverty line; I could use extra $$. Sometimes I wonder: “What am I getting for my tax payment to Canada?
An answer comes. I suddenly feel brighter. I ‘get’ certain knowledge that I’m helping wonderful folks access good health care whenever they need it. For me, opportunity to support a 21st Century practice, even if my budget is tight, is privilege. I wish I could have that same experience here!
I don’t qualify for insurance that I can afford in the US, so have none. The taxes I pay here don’t contribute to universal coverage. Here, I can learn of needs of wonderful Americans while simultaneously learning they have no coverage.
I don’t want to move to Connecticut but it’s tempting! Equally tempting is to think how great it would be if those of us outside Connecticut, who want to, could pay into their system! (I’m pretty sure this is not possible, besides, I live too far away!)
My third temptation is to send a donation to Connecticut to help them get their system up and running!
I think if Americans experienced an intelligently run universal program, they’d wonder why they resisted, feared, for so long.
I think they’d see that the ripple effect in every community, of massive personal debt (and bankruptcy, debilitation, even death), all because of a profit-driven health care system, is a truly shameful, colossal, waste.
You know? Most of us can, if we need, figure out a place to live – even if it’s under a bridge. (It never should be, but it can be done.) Most of us can find some way to get calories that will keep us going, even if food quality is poor. We can wear worn clothes.
But I have never, ever, met anyone who has successfully removed his/her own appendix.