Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Health Care: Good vs. Evil

This should be just the kind of battle the President loves, right against wrong, no nasty little nuances to fog the mind, but here he is on the side of darkness, threatening to veto a bill passed by the House that would extend health insurance to five million more children of the working poor.

The proposal, according to the Washington Post, is backed by “Republican and Democratic governors, the American Medical Association, AARP, the March of Dimes, the Catholic Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and even cyclist Lance Armstrong. And the prospects are good in the Senate, where a key Republican, Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), said, ‘It's difficult for me to understand how anyone wouldn't want to do this.’"

George Bush doesn’t--on “philosophical” grounds. "When you expand eligibility,” he argues, “you're really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government."

In his opposition, the President may be opening the wider debate on American health care and what some of his loyal supporters yesterday denounced as the first step toward “socialized medicine.”

If so, it would only be a baby step, but the discussion is long overdue. If “socialized medicine” is the only alternative to lining the pockets of HMOS and health insurance companies at the expense of sick kids, so be it. If “socialized” means humane rather than rapacious, what’s so scary about it? Socialized doesn’t mean Socialist.

Even doctors, the presumed victims, seem to be in favor of scrapping the current system. A recent survey by the Minnesota Medical Association found that “64% favored a single-payer system, 25% HSAs, and 12% managed care. The majority of physicians (86%) also agreed that it is the responsibility of society, through the government, to ensure that everyone has access to good medical care. Less than half (41%) said that the private insurance industry should continue to play a major role in financing health care.” (Source: Sustainable Middle Class blog.)

It’s time to talk frankly about what’s good and what’s evil in our health care system, and President Bush may just be leading the way.

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