Does America have a healthcare crisis?

October 25th, 2007

The short answer – no. Could our healthcare system use some serious tweaking? The answer is absolutely. But how do we make American healthcare better? The Democrat Party and people like Michael Moore-on want what many consider to be socialized medicine. Which means that they want every person in the United States to have health insurance that is run by the federal government. In other words, 300 million people would have essentially the same healthcare plan.

Many politicians like Hillary Clinton and John Edwards routinely refer to this as free and universal healthcare. Nothing in life is free, my mother has made that point very clear to me about a million times throughout my short life. The Democrats rarely ever mention that having universal healthcare means a significant raise in federal taxes.

Republicans, on the other hand, feel that our current form of healthcare, while not perfect, is for the most part effective. Allowing the free market to dictate the prices of insurance plans and prescription drugs is just another aspect of living in a capitalist society.
However, Republicans do support programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which help millions of people get healthcare whom otherwise could not afford it. Recently, President Bush was forced to veto a proposal that would vastly expand a program known as SCHIP, which stands for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Many on the left have said that with this veto the president is against giving low income kids healthcare. Don’t believe them.

The president wants to re-authorize SCHIP, but not the way that the Democrats want. Democrats want to give this type of coverage, which is meant for lower class families, to upper class households which do not need it, with an enormous price tag. Vetoing that legislation was the right move and hopefully the Congress and the White House can come to an agreement so that this important program can continue. So, what can we do to maximize the effectiveness of American healthcare? Here are my solutions.

First, socialized medicine is not the answer. Giving every American healthcare that is run and paid for by the government might sound nice, but will be nothing but an expensive disaster. The fact of the matter is that we can barely afford Medicare, and just wait until the baby boomers begin collecting it. Furthermore, in nations like Britain, which have universal healthcare, some people wait almost a year to get vital organ transplants. And that’s in a country with a population of only 60 million. Universal healthcare would not work in the United States, period.

Secondly, we should encourage individuals to purchase their own health insurance, that way they are not dependent on whatever plans are provided by their employers. Anyone can do this, and if more people did, it would create competition between insurance companies which would drive prices down.

Thirdly, all healthcare plans in this country should allow people to choose the physician of their choice. The relationship between doctor and patient is a very important one, and in many cases is very personal. In my experience, you tend to get better care from a doctor who knows you and your history. I hate the fact that I might not be able to go and see someone I have seen my entire life because he or she is not on my particular insurance plan. That stupidity needs to go.

Next, all Americans should be eligible for catastrophic health coverage. What that means is that, if you come down with an illness that a licensed physician says it could kill you if left untreated, the government should foot the bill for the necessary treatments. People in this country should not have to choose between the poor house and the funeral home.

And finally, we need people in this country to care about their health and to take care of themselves. Prevention is a great way for all of us to save a lot of money on healthcare costs. We need to do our best to eat right, exercise frequently, and to make sure we do everything else possible to keep our bodies healthy. For example, I am doing my part by writing this column which might put many of you to sleep. Sleep is vital to our health, so if you find yourself dozing off, you are welcome.

But seriously, the issue of healthcare is incredibly important, and with a presidential election coming up next year, prepare yourself to be bombarded with proposals to fix America’s healthcare system that are both good and bad. In the end, we need our elected leaders to comprimise on a program that will benefit us all – but dont hold your breath.