I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last. It has now been nearly a century since Theodore Roosevelt first called for health care reform. And ever since, nearly every President and Congress, whether Democrat or Republican, has attempted to meet this challenge in some way. A bill for comprehensive health reform was first introduced by John Dingell Sr. in 1943. Sixty-five years later, his son continues to introduce that same bill at the beginning of each session.
Our collective failure to meet this challenge – year after year, decade after decade – has led us to a breaking point. Everyone understands the extraordinary hardships that are placed on the uninsured, who live every day just one accident or illness away from bankruptcy.
One of the major problems is not even the bankruptcy problem, it is that without health care coverage we have to wait till problems become emergency room problems. That is they only get solved in emergency terms. You are sick but don't know why, so you go to the emergency room. They will save your life if possible to do in a day or a week. But long term chemo or radiation, probably not. Your kidneys have shut down, might you get dialysis, sure one time. Then what. You break an arm. It's probably set and cast. You come back to have the cast removed. Would there be any checking during the weeks of wearing the cast? To make sure the bone was set and healing properly. Probably not.
That's bad health care.
Is it the doctors fault? The hospitals fault? The patients fault? The insurance companies fault?
Actually as the president stated, it is our fault. We elected the people who vote against our interests, year after year, after year.....
Why? Well insurance and health care wasn't nearly as expensive when I was a youngster. We grew up being told we were the best, we could do no wrong. We took that to mean all things American were the best that things could be. We didn't follow politics and world events to see what other countries were doing, unless they seemed like they might threaten us. And mostly not even then. So we fell complacent, fat, dumb but somehow not all that happy. And now as so many of us are scrapping by, or even less than that we are in deep.
Little steps over 5 or 10 years will not be enough. We have seen what works. Maybe not every system will work here. But we know what does not work. The system we have now. Does. Not. Work. Even people who have good insurance don't always use it, because they know or believe their rates will increase or they will be denied or canceled.
We just spent enough to fund full single payer for everyone for a decade on a stimulus package that we should not have needed. We have spent enough in Iraq to also fund the same thing for an additional decade. Or we had a tax cut that would fund single payer for all for over a decade. So that's 3 decades of single payer that we spent already on crap that has not only not helped the vast majority, it has killed hundreds of thousands of people. And let's not forget that we pay a lot now for this crappy insurance, if we can get it.
The president is only partially correct. We are not at the breaking point, we have sailed past it, whistling in the dark that all is well.