Friday, July 24, 2009

universal health care?

The debate keeps raging about universal health care in the USA.

The problem with the debate is how the questions are framed.

No right thinking person would assert that anyone should be kept from primary health care. Obviously nobody should be turned away from an emergency room because of the inability to pay.

In the USA at least, there is no shortage of emergency rooms and primary health care facilities. One could not honestly say that most of the population is not within easy reach of primary emergency treatment.

However, the ability to pay for treatment has become the crux of the issue (in my understanding).

People who do not have health insurance in the USA faces some real financial issues if they need any kind of definitive health care. Any serious medical care will cost more than the average person could afford.

Let's say for example that you step on a rusty nail and go to the ER for treatment. According to the figures released by a Consumer Health Organization the average cost for the treatment will be $1081. If I did not have health insurance, I would most likely NOT go to the emergency room for treatment. I would probably have elected to treat the issue at home until I probably developed a serious infection and then would have had some really serious financial issues. For the average person, spending $1000 on an unplanned issue is a huge problem.

In my opinion, the issue of universal health care is more complex than making sure everyone has access to affordable insurance.

In the USA, health care is a huge business. As long as health care is a profit driven business there will be no end to the ever escalating costs. It is a self fulfilling prophecy in a way. Costs will increase in relation to the need to show a profit. Altruism and the profit motive do not make good bedfellows.

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