Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How Broken is American Health Care?

Well, that's a question I can't answer.  I'm no economist, not a pundit, not even a journalist.  But I'm not blind, either.

When a guy robs a bank to get some medical attention, you know the system is broken.  His name is James Verone, and he's got a raft of assorted medical issues.  He, like so many other Americans, lost his job when the economy suddenly sounded the dive dive dive klaxon and he hasn't been able to find work since. Without a job, getting health insurance is pretty hard.  Hard, as in expensive.  And of course when you're unemployed expensive translates into unattainable.

What's a guy got to do to get a little doctor face time?  Hmm...where are there doctors a guy doesn't have to pay for?

Assorted developing nations, except it's not always easy to catch up to the Doctors Without Borders people.  Free clinics here and there, but if your problem is more involved than a little gauze or an Ace bandage, a lot of them can't do much.


Verone robbed a bank.  He handed a teller a note demanding a dollar.

You read that right: $1.00.  He made no threats, did not mention any weapons and was generally a quiet and unassuming, for lack of a better word, "customer."  No word on whether Verone holds an account at the bank where he made his desperate foray into a life of crime.

Police, being not without some compassion, only charged Verone with larceny of an individual instead of actual robbery due to the very mild nature of his transgression and the extreme modesty of his demands.

So what's it going to take, America?  Obamacare isn't the right answer, but pitching out the entire plan without having a suitable substitute isn't going to get the job done, either.  Here's how awful our current healthcare system is: I have no idea what the healthcare system is.  That's it.  I've said it before, I'm a pretty smart guy but when we get to matters like this, my eyes just cross.

When a pretty smart guy - I've taken tests that quantified that I'm not stupid - can't make sense of the healthcare system, where does that leave the average Joe? 

My entire interpretation of healthcare at this time is: don't get sick.  Don't get hurt.  It's too confusing and too difficult to have to wade through all the red tape and folderol.

It's seductive to get caught up in the question, "who do we have to blame for this mess?"  But frankly that's unproductive thinking.  If we dig a little, we'll find that there's plenty of blame to spread around, on both sides of the aisle in Congress, over the past few presidents, and onto ourselves, the taxpayers and voters, who put the decision makers in office.  They make the decisions we tell them to make, after all.  So really it all falls on us.

 Skip past the naming of blames.  That won't help anyone.  But let's get this straightened out.  If we're supposed to be a free country, how can we look each other in the eye and say that, when we're making prisoners of ourselves just to save our own lives?

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