On Healthcare

Craig rebuts my opinion that the US needs universal health care. The uninsured have few options if they become ill - they can go to an emergency room, which generally cannot refuse service, or they can go to neighborhood clinics, which offer only limited services. If the uninsured has a severe problem, he is shit out of luck. He may get the treatment he needs, and be forever indebted to the provider. HALF OF ALL BANKRUPTCIES IN THE US ARE DUE TO MEDICAL EXPENSES. And that includes the insured. Which is costlier to society? Which is fairer to free enterprise? Sticking hospitals with the bill? You want a private system? Look at Germany: Some 92 percent of Germany's residents receive health care through statutory health insurance, that is, the GKV. As of late 1992, the GKV relied on about 1,200 nonprofit sickness funds that collect premiums from their members and pay health care providers according to negotiated agreements. Those not insured through these funds, mostly civil servants and the self-employed, have private for-profit insurance. An estimated 0.3 percent of the population has no health insurance of any kind. They are generally the rich who do not need it and the very poor, who receive health care through social assistance. Here's what Switzerland does. There are many different ways to ensure that everyone who needs health insurance can get it. The Swiss plan seems reasonable to me. But everyone is covered. It contains a public plan and private plans. Those who can't afford the premium are entitled to a subsidy. I don't care how we get there, but the US needs to have universal health coverage. People shouldn't be bankrupted because of illness. Treatment for illness should not be dependent on one's ability to pay, or to obtain health coverage. I'm very afraid that Bush's "ownership society" is just newspeak for "law of the jungle", and "every man for himself."

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