Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why I Am in Favor of a Universal Healthcare System

This post might offend some of the more sensitive Mormon set. I don't really care though.

As a Southern, Mormon, United States citizen, let me say that, against stereotype, I am completely in favor of a universal healthcare system.

I am 33, a college professor, and I have a wife and two kids. In order for me to have "private" insurance for my family, via an HMO, I would have to pay $822.06 a month (almost $10k a year, or 1/4th of my income); that's with a $20 co-pay, and a $1,000 hospital deductible.

My father died 2 weeks ago on October 30th of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. He was in the hospital in a coma for six weeks. His medical bills están por allí de $250,000. Since he was self-employed, he had no medical insurance. My father paid the maximum in Social Security and Medicare taxes every year of his life. But, because he made too much last year to qualify for Medicaid, my mom now has to wipe out their savings to pay a medical bill that defines ridiculousness: A bag of iv saline solution costs $75, FOR SALT WATER!

If I am to give 1/4th of my income to something already, then why not have it go to taxes? That medical insurance companies are publicly-traded enterprises means that someone is profiting from my sacrifices. The Medicare system for the elderly is one of the most cost-effective and efficient systems around for adminstering healthcare. I would expect the same from a universal Medicaid system.

I find it beyond hypocritical that Congress didn't overturn Bush's veto of an extension to the CHIP (children's health) bill to extend medical care to around 8 million un-insured lower middle-class children (mine included), when members of Congress have a free and universal health insurance for life that they gave themselves. If politicians don't have the courage to grant healthcare to all, in the world's wealthiest country, at least children should have it.

No one should ever have to make health decisions for their children based on whether or not they can afford to go to the doctor.


chattypatra said...

I wholeheartedly agree. I think it is incredibly obscene that our Congressmen, who already make a boatload of money (don't even get me started on the "under the table" rant), should have such a fantastic health plan.

When my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2000, I had to quit my job in order to take care of her. It was either that, or paying tons of money for mediocre care from strangers. I, of course, lost my health insurance 18 months later because I could no longer pay it. Her bills amounted to over $40,000 just for medication and miscellaneous daily care items. My father and I both ran out of savings.

Now I find myself in the same situation. I have an elderly father to support and, after losing my job in May, have yet to find one because I am not skinny or young and nobody will hire me.

So, I'm back to square one. My savings have run out, I have no health insurance, and a father who should not be left alone the whole day because he is 92.

I worked full-time for 20 years and paid my taxes without cheating.
Tons of people in this country have never done that and yet receive checks from our government every month. I was denied workers compensation for unemployment and, since nobody will hire me, have been so depressed that I'm seriously concerned.

I think there must be other people like me out there who have never been freeloaders but find themselves in a jam. Don't we deserve to have health insurance?

The whole thing is outrageous! I normally can't stand Michael Moore but the man was right to come after the big insurance companies.

It's like one big Mafia. Sorry about the rant, Mac, and thanks for posting this truth.

Ben and Carolyn said...

I totally agree with you! But why would this offend mormons? I'm pretty darn conservative and don't know why I should be offended, ha!

Ryan S. said...

In sum, I agree with you Mac. And it is the number one issue when it comes to voting, for both me and my wife.

chattypatra said...

Mac, would you please go over to my blog and check out today's entry about Walgreens? I need some wise feedback on what happened. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

hi mac...I really miss you on the other side of the hall... :) sorry about your dad... i just watched sicko and, even making allowances for michael moore, it was shocking... I'm keeping my braz hmo and, if I ever need it, it's cheaper just to fly back home! kudos and be strong, your friend Alex

thewmes said...

I don't know why this offends mormons. And Mac you had better watch out your sonding more and more liberal since you left the NO. I quess I can't call you my friend the super republican anymore.

Louis said...

Hey Mac, great blog. I have to respectfully disgree with you here, although I am not offended as a Mormon. As a father of seven children on one moderate income, I am all too familiar with the failings of our current health care system. However, I disagree with your conclusion and in fact advocate the opposite end of the spectrum. I think that government should get out of health care altogether. As a libertarian with conservative leanings, I find no authorization in the Constitution for the federal government to be involved in health care (or an innumerable amount of other things it has gotten into for that matter). Government is by its very nature a bulky, unwieldy, slowly responding entity. It is unaffected by market conditions and therefore has not inherent need to improve quality or efficiency, because you can't fire them and if they run out of money they just raise taxes. I just can't imagine anyone wanting the same people that bring us the efficiency of the DMV, the customer service of the IRS, or the accountability of the Postal Service to be involved in literally life and death decisions. There is a case before the Canadian Supreme Court right now of a man that was suffering debilitating headaches and was told it would be four months wait to get an MRI. Instead he went to a medical broker that arranged passage to the US and set up an appointment with a specialist. He flew into NY, got an MRI that afternoon, found out that he had a stage 4 brain tumor that would kill him in less than three months, and was scheduled for surgery the next day. In Canada what he did is against the law, but if he had followed the law he would be dead.

Government needs to get completely out and let the capitalist private sector bring to the health care industry the same innovation, efficiency and pricing competition that have made cell phones and computers boths drastically improved from a technological standpoint while bringing the cost lower each year. Government is exascerbating the problem by mandating pregnancy, alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking related problems, etc., regardless of whether or not you engage in those behaviors associated with those risks. Insurance is so high because it has to cover everything. It is the equivalent of buying car insurance that covers oil changes, brake pads and car washes. Why don't we eliminate government health care involvement, keep the taxes that had been going to it, and but catastrophic insurance with a high deductible and pay for routine care out of pocket? For a much better synopsis of some of these arguments read John Stossel's articles at; he is much more eloquent that I. And for the record, Micheal Moore is a brilliant propogandist, but "Sicko" is no more a documentary than anything ever put out by Goebbels, or the USSR during the Cold War. He uses carefully selected information while eliminating any contradictory evidence.

Anyway, that's my opinion, for what it is worth...

Adam Hiatt said...

I don't know if you'll remember me or not? My name is Adam Hiatt. I was living in Roman Gardens when I was back at BYU when you and your sister were there. I linked over to your blog from Tim Boisvert's blog. It's good to hear from you and see how you're doing.

That's cool that you're a Spanish teacher.

I'm sooooo sorry to hear about the death of your father. I don't think there's really words that can console at the parting of a loved one, especially your father. The only thing thought of solace that I would offer is of remembering the resurrection and that one day we will see our loved ones after death.

Here's one of my websites you can get my email address from here if you'd like to write back and say hi.

I just finished my Master's and am in training to teach MBA classes from Univ. of Phoenix, in Spanish! Kinda cool.

Anyway, I hope to hear from you, and again I'm sorry to hear about your father.

It was good to read of your opinions on health care. I think it's a shame that something more hasn't been done to provide better health care for all.

I don't know what side of the politcal fence you're on? However, I suppose that you would consider voting for Mitt Romney since he got legally mandated universal health care coverage for all of the state of MS. It sounds like a good idea?

I consider myself a republican, although more independent leaning. There's plenty of things I don't agree with the GOP on, such as illegal immigration, not enforcing the immigration laws on the books, exporting U.S. jobs overseas to China, India, Mexico, etc.

I'd love to discus politics and opinion with you. I love hearing both sides of the debate on lots of issues.

-- Adam