What motivates you?

A friend (who shall remain nameless, let us just suffice it to say that he has created almost all postings up to this point) and I were discussing the viability of a truly universal health care system last night. His argument was that everyone needs to be covered (which I agree) by insurance and that serious changes need to occur in our health ‘system’ in this country (duh?). A major point of contention in our discussion was how universal health care would be paid for. His belief is that everything is too expensive. insurance, medical technology, salaries for physicians, etc. My point of contention with this argument is this: People respond to two things in life: 1. Fear 2. Greed.

Now, I realize that I am going to have to play the bad guy here for a minute and risk my credibility (of which I have little) going up in smoke, but I believe that the high level of ‘sick care’ that we are able to provide in this country is a direct result of health care’s partially private system that offers inventors of technology and medical devices, providers, and managers an economic incentive to provide health services that are second to none (for those that can afford it). Postulating on what might have happened if things had been different and there had been no economic incentive to provide health care is called “counter-factual history” and is highly suspect and unprovable. I am merely inserting my opinion and asking that others do the same.

No matter how you cut the cake that is health care, in the end the money used to pay for cake is coming straight from our (Americans’) pocketbooks. Whether it be in the form of lower wages from employers trying to cover the health insurance they offer their employees or the money that people have to shell out of their own pockets for private insurance, or the taxes we pay that go to cover (very necessary) programs like Medicare and Medicaid, in the end the money that pays for our ‘sick care’ comes from us, and only us. I don’t know about you, but if (God forbid) I come down with a serious illness, I want the best physicians working with the best equipment used in conjunction with the most recent and advanced technology to be working to make me better. Would that be possible in a system where the prospect of economic gain is non-existent?

I put it to you to decide. For my part, this was just a rambling, jumbled, thinking-out-loud kind of post intended to raise more questions without providing any solutions or answers.

One thought on “What motivates you?

  1. I would love to say that if I, God forbid, were to fall ill, that I would like (to quote you) “the best physicians working with the best equipment used in conjunction with the most recent and advanced technology to be working to make me better.” My contention with your argument, however, is that care in this country is not “the best” and we rarely rank first in treatment effectiveness of any disease.

    If we spend over $2 trillion on health care a year, much of which is a result of “the high level of ’sick care’ that we are able to provide in this country is a direct result of health care’s mostly private system that offers inventors of technology and medical devices, providers, and managers an economic incentive to provide health services that are second to none.” While the exact ranking is a matter of debate depending on which source you want to consult, the fact is we’re not second, and there are quite a few systems ahead of us. For some info, you can visit here: http://www.who.int/inf-pr-2000/en/pr2000-44.html

    “Cutting the cake” the way we do means that a lot of the advancements that come from the innovative culture that is the U.S. subsidize the cost of health care in other countries. And while the argument that “if we didn’t do it, who would” reigns, the fact of the matter is the proliferation of health care costs are going to bankrupt us. And if that happens, 1. Fear and 2. Greed will have no bearing on the fractured, pathetic health care delivery system that will remain.

    And, as you are sure to say, that you qualified your argument by saying “for those that can afford it,” what good does a system do when top earners are the only people who can receive top-tier care? I believe, in your bio, you said that society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable. Well poor and sick seem like a vulnerable state to me, and if those people don’t have access to high quality care, what good is that?

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