Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Health Care Costs- A Real Crisis

Rob Reynolds of CNBC tripped my trigger today, so I'm going off in a direction I didn't even mention in may last post. He reminded me at a time when I'm struggling with the priority I ascribe to Social Security reform that there is something I consider more personal and more urgent (certainly relative to a program that is currently solvent).

Close family members of mine are on Medicare. Close family members of mine are without health insurance. The administration has proposed help as Reynolds points out. Let me say that none of the people I know without insurance would, or could, use a $3,000 tax credit to buy it. To suggest any significant percentage of people in that position could, or would, is to demonstrate a lack of first-hand knowledge of the way these folks live their lives.

The $3,000 is not going to cover the cost of a policy for a family. It's not even close according to Reynolds' numbers. So, these people are going to hope they, or their kids, don't get sick. Most will take the chance through hope, faith, or just plain financial limitation. Then when they do get sick it's off to the emergency room where costs are the grossest of the gross.

Somewhere between 40 and 50 million of our fellow Americans are in this

How are they ever going to work their way toward participation in an ownership society, or contribution to a personal retirement account, when basic medical care not only takes all their disposable income, but weighs them down with a heavy burden of debt. Many, probably most, of these people will be left behind in such a society as presently outlined.

I think there is a real danger to our American system if we don't address the health care crisis with priority. Yes, demographics in this country point to an undeniably problematic future for Social Security, but, the future is now for a lot of our sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters.

President Bush has shown the nerve to reach for the third rail; surely we can find the nerve to overcome the stigma of the Clintons' failed attempt at fixing the health care system.

It is a matter of life and health and maybe even death, now!


At 1:11 AM, Anonymous Allen McQuarrie said...

Read Critical Condition by Donald Bartlett and James Steele. Health care has become big business and that is bad medicine. Corporations are cornering the market on health care and driving up costs, harming the economy and above all the patient by cutting corners on everything from surgical procedures to cleaning services.

I just emailed Doctors Without Borders to ask them to send a mobile unit to a suburban county with many uninsured employees with healt care problems. The myth that the US is number one worldwide in health care has to be the most exploited theme for political purposes.

If you could read the book and add this to your blog, you would be doing the country a service.

You can reach me at


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