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There Is No Such Thing As Affordable Health Care

by Trick Nixon (Principles: None) - 1 year ago

Politicians need to level with Americans that, one way or another, Health Care must be rationed. Only when that happens can a useful debate begin.

The recent CNN debate between Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz on the Affordable Care Act was entertaining, informative and revealing. Much of the time, of course, was spent on Sanders and Cruz rehashing their favorite sound bites but on several occasions the mask dropped to reveal the bitter truth. The truth is that neither one of them believes that it is possible to provide every American with adequate health care.

CNN did an excellent job in finding real people with real health care concerns. When confronted with questions from these people, the politicians behaved like a pinball machine – they tilted. A business owner in a low profit industry told Sanders that she would love to grow her business but the requirement that she obtain health insurance stops her from going over 49 employees. Sanders grunted, cleared his throat, moaned and grunted again before falling back on his belief that the only solution was for the government to take over providing health insurance. 

Cruz pounced on Sanders statement using a litany of statistics showing how health care is rationed in countries where health coverage is provided by the government. He gleefully described how oeople are required to wait longer to see a doctor and many die while waiting and elderly patients don’t receive the same level of care as younger patients.

The tables were then turned when Cruz was confronted with patients who are only able to get health care because of the changes made by the ACA. Their question was whether Cruz could guarantee they could keep their coverage after the ACA is repealed. In one notable exchange, Cruz stalled for time by congratulating a woman on having Multiple Sclerosis. When he finally got around to responding to her question, the best that his brilliant mind could do was to trash Medicaid, reiterate how health care costs had gone up under the ACA and suggest that everything would be solved if insurance companies could sell health insurance across state lines.

It was an easy lay-up for Sanders who turned to the woman who had asked the question and essentially said – “you asked Ted if he could promise that you will still be covered after the ACA is repealed. His answer was no.”

If we take these exhanges together, the truth emerges. Neither the ACA, "Medicare for all", or the illusury Republican "common sense" solution can guarantee that every citizen will get the high quality care they need when they need it.  For today and for the foreseeable future health care is going to be rationed. It may be rationed by wealth, by age, by the odds for a favorable outcome, or a combination of all, but it will be rationed.

The sooner supposedly “plain speaking” politicians like Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz step forward and admit this obvious fact the sooner we can begin the essential discussion of how to ration health care in the most fiscally responsible, humane and ethical way. 

Comments and Responses (2)

General Comments
By  Facebook Commenter - 1 year ago
Of course there is no such thing as affordable healthcare. Sanders emphasized that point over and over again by constantly evoking universal healthcare. Eventually, the entire country will need to accept this reality. He won this debate hands down.
Discussion Leader's Response : This comment is interesting but not directly relevant. (It might be a good topic for a new discussion)
Discussion Leader's Explanation : Perhaps you are right but neither you, nor Sanders, answered the argument Ted Cruz made that in countries with single-payer, the waits are longer and care is rationed. When you look at the "success" stories in other countries, you also need to look at the fact that the U.S. is subsidizing their costs of prescription drugs. If those other countries had to pay the "real" price, like we would, their "universal" health care coverage might not look so universal any more.
INFORMATION used
By  Facebook Commenter - 1 year ago
Not true at all. Health Care can be made affordable if we start by implementing control of costs and THEN develop a plan. Among the ways to begin controlling costs are 1) change depreciation on medical tech equipment so the overall cost is offset faster; 2) government can subsidize costs of r&d of new treatments and medicines and implement profiteering caps, 3) quicker turnaround to generic status based on profit margins, 4) torte reform, 5) overhaul liability insurance and settlements, 6) allow insurance to be traded over state boundaries, and 7) higher tax bracket for higher profit levels.
Discussion Leader's Response : This comment is relevant to the discussion. (Commenter's rating is increased.)
Discussion Leader's Explanation : It's certainly worth a try. The problem, of course, is that your cocktail of solutions includes items some items favored by Democrats and some items favored by Republicans. Getting them to agree on adopting all of these cost cutting ideas is a hurdle but stranger things have happened. I would add subsidized preventive care to your list. Encouraging people to see a doctor once a year, or even once every two years for a basic check-up and an opportunity to ask questions and get advice would pay for itself many times over. The insurance companies have already figured this out but why not offer it to those who don't have insurance?