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Medical Reform: A Brief Historic Perspective

Updated on May 30, 2012

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The Debate

Today in my political science class we were debating this whole health care reform issue. As the lines were drawn in the sand and the mindless rhetoric was pulled out of bags, I realized that there is historical precedent based off a similar situation in American history. So, here is the break down.

The Facts:
1) Health care in the USA, while good, has flaws.
2) Cost keep going up making harder for the average American to afford the benifits of this system.
3) A main contributor to this cost is health insurance, which companies are driven by the need to turn a profit because they are for profit companies.
4) Since corporations are by their nature neither good nor evil, but are amoral, there are people who fall on the wayside in the battle for the almighty dollar (which is increasingly losing its value due to the gross amount of debt placed on the citizens of this country).

The Conclusion: Both sides of the aisle agree, there is a problem with the health insurance industry.

The Jungle

In 1906, a journalist known as a muck raker (so called because the "raked up the muck" of social and business corruption) named Upton Sinclair published a book called The Jungle. In this book, he exposed inhuman treatment of workers and unsanitary conditions of meet packing plants. The result of his and other muck raker hard work is the creation of anti-trust laws and in the case of The Jungle's influence, the creation of what became the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Point

In this situation where we are facing a time of reform, I hope we take a lesson from the past. Personally, I think a Public Option or One Payer System being passed into law is a bit like spanking a baby with an axe. How hard would it be to set regulations for insurance companies to require them to allow pre-existing conditions? How much less would it cost? It seems to have worked back in at the turn of the 19th century. That's why you can buy any type of canned food and not die of food poisoning (Well, there always is a chance. Every time I eat Spaghetti O's I feel like I should die anyways! But but back to the subject at hand...). So, that is a little food for thought. Still, if a Democratic Congress does what I think it will (pass a public option) there really isn't much point to what I've said. Still...

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