Everyone wants the government to run everything, but thinks the government doesn’t do a good job of taking care of what they do run. At least, when a Republican is in office.
For example, over half our citizenry want socialized medicine (a national health service, just like the United Kingdom (UK)). And of course, just like the citizens of the UK, our citizens want better health services than are available through private providers. (The Brits can’t stand their National Health Services dental care - click here, and scroll down to the third testimonial, the Russell Fraser letter - but their high taxes don’t leave any but the very rich enough money to buy private dental services. So they go to Hungary, along with the Austrians and Germans. And me. I have dental insurance, but it doesn’t cover implants. Yet.)
Back to Americans’ health service demands, or expectations. Universal coverage is very important. So is excellent health care. Add to that, low cost. Don’t forget, leading edge research and development of life-saving and life-extending drugs and medical procedures is also extremely important. And the best medical schools.
Where do we find that now?
Where do we come the closest to finding it?
The United States.
We have much better outcomes than Western Europe curing heart diseases and cancers. We don’t let 35,000 mostly elderly citizens perish in a heat wave. We employ far more expensive and state-of-art medical equipment and procedures.
We invented and developed most of them.
Our medical schools are second to none.
But universal coverage?
Through a hodge-podge and mish-mash of programs, we almost have universal coverage. Although activists and politicians bandy about a figure of roughly 47 million uninsured, about twelve million are illegal aliens and can get free medical treatment through hospital emergency rooms.
Another 17 million earn more than the median household income of $46,326. They can afford to buy health insurance or pay medical expenses directly, but probably don’t worry about it because 60 percent of the medically uninsured reported they were in excellent or very good health.
Perhaps that’s one of the dividends of taking good care of yourself, watching your weight, getting lots of exercise, not smoking or addicted to drugs or alcohol. You can save money on healthcare, and spend it on building a business, buying a home, or investing for your future.
Of course you’ll be resented for not paying “your fair share” to care for those who won’t care for themselves, but no matter how much they want to take from you to give to them, it would never be enough. Such “generosity” only fuels demands for more.
So what is the true extent of the uninsured “crisis?” The Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit frequently quoted by the media, puts the number of uninsured Americans who do not qualify for current government programs and make less than $50,000 a year between 13.9 million and 8.2 million. That is a much smaller figure than the media report.
Kaiser’s 8.2 million figure for the chronically uninsured only includes those uninsured for two years or more. It is also worth noting, that 45 percent of uninsured people will be uninsured for less than four months according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Of course, significant portions of our populace are covered by Medicare and Medicaid, at least until the bankruptcy and inefficiencies of these two government programs bring both of them or all other government programs competing for the same resources into wreckage and ruin.
You hadn’t heard Medicare was bankrupt? It’s been operating in the red for three years now. Its so-called Trust Fund, a collection of worthless government paper not even suitable for toilet use, will be technically bankrupt by 2019, but its benefits already exceed its tax revenues starting in 2004.
In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, mandated by our government for businesses but not government, both Social Security and Medicare have been bankrupt for years, as anyone with sense enough to read Census and actuarial tables, and then compare projected benefits to tax revenues, would realize.
However, be of good cheer. The welfare states of Europe will be bankrupt long before we face the music.
Pity we can’t learn from their mistakes.