POLITICAL DEBATE: What changes would you make to the health care system?

“In 2006, the federal government estimated that 47 million Americans lacked any kind of health insurance. Let’s put that in perspective. Last year I had my appendix taken out. Monday I was feeling great, Tuesday ended with a really upset stomach and Wednesday morning found me in the emergency room.”

In 2006, the federal government estimated that 47 million Americans lacked any kind of health insurance.

Let’s put that in perspective.

Last year I had my appendix taken out. Monday I was feeling great, Tuesday ended with a really upset stomach and Wednesday morning found me in the emergency room. My doctor explained that in most cases, they are unsure of why certain people’s appendixes flare up and eventually burst.

Luckily, mine hadn’t burst yet. At around one in the afternoon Wednesday, I was in surgery.

I stayed in Akron General for three days and two nights. I left on Friday afternoon.

Guess what my bill was.

You got it – $18 thousand. Again, lucky me, I have health insurance. I paid a very small amount and didn’t worry about it.

But what if I hadn’t had it? It’s not like my appendix problems could’ve been avoided. So one week, out of nowhere, I end up in the hospital running up a bill of eighteen grand.

How do I pay it?

That’s what it’s like not to have health care.

The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t have a national health care system. Canada has it, Great Britain has it, Germany has it. As much as I would like to see one put in place here, realistically, it’s not going to happen. It would work against the best financial interests of insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, who would do their best to make sure it didn’t happen.

Is there any solution? In my Social Problems class, someone offered up the idea that the federal government could pay for health insurance for those who didn’t have it.

I agree, and believe that is the only way we can insure that every American has health insurance.

Doing this may seem expensive, but when you consider how much we spend on programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, it wouldn’t cost much more. Insurance companies could compete for a government contract, which would allow the government to keep the cost down.

It’s good for Americans without insurance, it’s good for insurance companies, and it’s even good for the government, who could eventually merge Medicare and Medicaid into the new system.

Having a system like this is feasible – it doesn’t rival the vested interested of insurance or drug companies, it wouldn’t be ridiculously expensive and it would provide health care needs for millions of uninsured citizens.

Sounds like a plan.