It’s rare that I write a wholly political post. And frankly, I wish this topic didn’t even enter the realm of politics. Unfortunately, it does because of statements like former Republican Representative and radio talk show host Joe Walsh’s tweet in response to Jimmy Kimmel’s1 recent story about his newborn son’s heart condition: “Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s health care.” Yes, babies born with a disease are considered people with pre-existing conditions.
So I begin with this question: Are all Americans entitled to free or affordable health care which covers basic health services and pre-existing conditions? Think about babies born with heart conditions, like Jimmy Kimmel’s son. And see the Drug Dependence figure there? Think about babies born addicted to drugs.
About 1 in 10 babies born in the main hospital in Huntington, W.Va., are born addicted to heroin or some other opiate. CNN, which highlighted this estimate in December, wrote: “[I]t is their shrill screams that caretakers find so heart-wrenching.” Think about that for a moment: If you walked through the maternity wing in this white, working-class town of 50,000 people, every tenth baby is going through withdrawal — many from drugs no one was even talking about a decade or so ago. Mike Allen, Axios.com
The conundrum of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is that it presumes Americans will be able to afford health insurance, which most Americans cannot. When the proponents of the bill say, “affordable,” they imply there will be an affordable insurance option for us all. This relies on the American people inferring their care will be affordable – an unfortunate misunderstanding. Because the truth is, the less health care coverage we have, the more affordable the insurance will be. Just like our car insurance.
Health care must be a right, not a privilege only for those who can afford it. This is a country teeming with riches, engorged with abundance. Capitalism is an economic system of private enterprise; it does not exist in a bubble of greed nor exclusion of those in need. It is not a contradiction in terms to be a capitalist country and a compassionate one. They are not mutually exclusive.
And for those in the House of Representatives who identify as Christians, it should be all the more imperative to embrace those two terms concurrently if you, as Christ urged, embrace Matthew 25:35-40.
The high risk pool the Republicans talk about that will purportedly cover those whose States use the waiver will not cover the costs of opting out of pre-existing condition coverage.
Before the Affordable Care Act was passed, people were uninsured because it was unaffordable, which made basic health care unaffordable. Employers only covered what States prescribed. That is why the federal Affordable Care Act was born.
The American Cancer Society, The Academy of Pediatrics, The American Lung Association, The Heart Association, The Diabetes Association, the AMA, the March of Dimes all oppose this bill.
Health care must be a right, not a privilege only for those who can afford it. It is not a contradiction in terms to be a capitalist country and a compassionate one. They are not mutually exclusive.
The United States ranks eleventh after the top ten developed nations in providing health care for its citizens. The average amount other developed countries pay per person for health care is $3,814. The United States pays $9,451. The top ten countries offer universal health care; the United States is the only one who attempts to offer market-based health care. Which of these is not like the other?
In addition, we rank only 5th of 11 in quality of care, 9th in accessibility of care, 11th in efficiency of care, and 11th in equity of care.2
Instead of trying to regulate health care, why doesn’t Congress act where it will do the most good, and regulate the insurance industry?
For believers, see a related post: Spiritual Things with Eric.
1If you are one of the few who hasn’t seen Kimmel’s revelation, take 13 minutes out of your life and watch:
2Source: Commonwealth Fund. Top ten countries in ascending order – Switzerland, Japan, Austria (compulsory, free healthcare for all citizens; residents can chose to buy private healthcare packages if they can afford it.), San Marino (same as Austria; in addition The World Health Organization ranked San Marino as having one of the best healthcare systems in the world.), England, Singapore, Malta (modeled after England), Andorra (modeled after France), Italy, France.