Similar to the House version of healthcare reform, the “healthcare” bill currently before the Senate would harm people. The ways that this bill hurts us are too numerous to list, and I’m sure you’ve read them anyway. We all know that reducing coverage in order to finance tax cuts for the wealthiest is simply wrong. Does the ACA need revision? Perhaps it does, but revisions should aim at increasing protections at an affordable cost, not harming the very people that Congress is charged with representing.
Do we have options other than the cruel plans currently being floated by Congress? Well, of course we do:
Option 1: We need to focus on passing legislation that requires insurance companies to sell in every state or in no state at all. As of today, more insurance companies have announced that they are pulling out of the market in numerous states, resulting in less competition and increases in costs to residents. Insurance companies, rather than doctors, are currently in business to decide what healthcare patients need. This is wrong. There is simply no way that for-profit companies can provide for the needs of the people while constantly looking after the profit goals of their stockholders.
Option 2: We need to pursue the morally right thing to do and pass universal, single-payer coverage that also controls burgeoning health care costs, just as other countries have. The United States actually has single-payer health coverage in the form of Medicare, but it is limited to people 65 years old or older. The next step the Congressional Republicans plan is to gut Medicare and turn it into a voucher system, which will dramatically reduce benefit coverage. Instead, we should extend Medicare to younger and younger people to the point that it covers everyone.
According to Wikipedia, the following 58 countries had universal healthcare as of 2009.
I realize that Congress is unwilling to consider a single-payer system due to the increased taxation that it would require. While I am not an economist, I firmly believe that the astronomical costs we are currently paying for healthcare, when rolled over into taxes, would not result in a net increase. Would it require some sophisticated legislation that addresses multiple factors? Of course, but we are capable of addressing these issues.
Taxes are not evil when they “provide for the common welfare” of our people. Our Members of Congress can make America great(er) by thinking outside the political box and taking a stand for the people they represent.