The Top 5 Myths About Healthcare Reform
August is typically a slow news month. Perhaps, that's why no one will shut up about Health care Reform. Some people think it's necessary for our country's survival, others think it will send us into a communistic spiral. But regardless of your position on the issue, I'm sure you've heard some things about Obama's Health care Proposal that just aren't true. I'm not saying it's a good proposal, and I'm not saying it's a bad one, either. But there are some pretty common myths about it that I've decided to research and dispel.
5. If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix it
A lot of people are saying that the United States' Health care System works just fine, and that there's no need to change it. But one major flaw, and perhaps the worst thing about our Health care is that we have employer-provided health coverage. There's a lot of reasons why this is a bad idea, but perhaps the most troubling reason of them all, is that you lose your coverage when you lose your job. And since The United States' unemployment rate is at an all time high, that means that more people than ever are without coverage. Many of these people have children who are no longer covered. I'll say it again, children with no health care. That's reason alone to at least consider changing something.
4. The Reform Is For People Without Coverage
Wrong! Having a public option is good news for everybody. Competition is one of the most fundamental concepts of Capitalism (Try saying that ten times fast). Whether public or private, competition will cause lower prices. The insurance companies claim that the government will undercut them and drive them out of business. By the way, the Top 4 Insurance Companies in 2007 made over a billion dollars EACH in profit. The number one spot went to UnitedHealth Group who raked in $4.654 billion. It would have to be one heck of a government plan to steal that kind of business.
3. U.S.A. Is Number 1!
Oh, wait. We're number 37. Whoops. According to The World Health Organization (or The WHO), the United States ranked 37th in Health Care among 191 nations. Now this study has been used by everyone from Stephen Colbert to Michael Moore, so you can imagine it's getting some much deserved scrutiny. There's another study however, provided by the considerably more credible Commonwealth Fund. They compiled and analyzed data from surveys given to doctors and patients and ranked several of the most advanced nations in the world on their Health care systems. The countries included were The United States (woo!), Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and The United Kingdom. Based on many different criteria, including; quality of care, fairness, and use of information and technology, the U.S. ranked last or next-to-last in every single category. At lest it's not 37. Then again, maybe 37th out of 191 is better than 6th out of 6. Whatever it is, it's not Number 1.
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2. We'll Lose All Our Good Doctors
Another common myth about Health care reform, is that we'll lose our good doctors because they'll get paid substantially less. The cold, ugly truth is that yes, our doctors will be making a little less money. According to Dr. David Sundwall, Executive Director of the Utah State Department of Health, in an article printed in the Student Doctor Network, he says "There will likely be a more fair, i.e. 'narrower' distribution of compensation among physicians, regardless of specialty." But he also says "Physicians motivated primarily by income will be disappointed and possibly seek other ways to make a living. Those of us who value the rewards of patient care, service, and life-long learning of new biomedical science will still find being a doctor very rewarding." Well, that sounds more like we'll be weeding out the doctors who chose their vocation for the wrong reasons. It doesn't sound like we'll be losing our good doctors at all. And even though this is kind of a paradox, I just have to say it. If the number of doctors goes down, and the demand for doctors remains the same, then those doctors who stay and choose to do their job for the right reasons will pick up the patients of the doctors who quit, thus getting the good doctors more money. Who knows? They might even make more money with Health care Reform.
1. It's Socialism!
You've heard it before. If we reform Health care, we'll basically be socialists. And socialists are basically communists. So if we try to help less fortunate people acquire the most basic human right, a healthy life, we'll all be standing in line for bread before you can say Karl Marx. The probability of that happening, is just as unlikely as it sounds. China and Russia weren't some exceedingly stable democracies that accidentally slipped into the abyss of communism. These countries have long histories of Tsarism, Dictatorships, and Dynasties. The United States was built on democracy, still is a democracy, and will always be a democracy. We can't continue letting political issues stand in the way of us helping ourselves and helping our fellow Americans. And those countries I mentioned earlier; Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Australia, and The United Kingdom. Every one of those countries has Universal Health care. So if you think Canada and New Zealand are communist, then maybe we should give a new name to whatever China and Russia are.
This debate will probably continue on for as long as we have Republicans and Democrats. So let's debate. Let's research and discuss our ideas. As long as we have open minds and passion in our hearts, we can work together to solve any problem we have. Because whether you're on the right, left, or somewhere in the middle, we're all human beings. A fact too often neglected in politics.