All politics are local, so here are a few thoughts on an opinion article from our local paper calling for a single payer healthcare system:
I'm going to start with the author's hard hitting conclusion:
How can someone, or a family, be able to pursue life, liberty and happiness without health care? Can you imagine having a child and not having health coverage? Health care in this country should run similarly to how we pay for the fire department and police -- there is no public option for these services with wealthy people having a private system that guarantees them better care. There is no reason for health care to be on a two-tier, separate-and-unequal regime.
First, this writer is ignorant of how the world really works. If you are rich or politically powerful you DO get a private system that guarantees you better fire department and police. Why does Ted Kennedy get a private bodyguard (hint: he's not allowed to buy a firearm, and he's rich and powerful)? Why does Snoop Dog have a private bodyguard (hint: also wealthy)? Why does the city manager of Bellevue have a private police detail (hint: political power)? Fact: If you are wealthy (or powerful) then you get a private system that guarantees you better police protection.
Regarding fire protection, I'm guessing that response times in Beverly Hills are a bit better than in inner-city LA. Just a guess though. The rest of us settle for the "public option," with slower response times (or no response time). In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled numerous times that you have no right to police protection and that the police do not have to respond to your call. Now that we have gotten rid of the unicorns and fairy dust and returned to our separate-but-unequal reality, let us move on.
A single-payer system already exists for some in the USA. Medicare and the Veterans Administration are two examples. Instead of the confusing morass of insurance company bureaucrats who are paid to deny coverage, there would simply be one payer. Congressional Budget Office studies estimate that there will be $400 billion a year in savings by eliminating private insurance profits and needless overhead. The administrative overhead of Medicare is 3 percent, while private insurance is nearly 30 percent.
I quote from a recent ADN article:
A recent study by the University of Alaska Anchorage found only 13 of 75 primary care doctors surveyed in Anchorage were willing to take new Medicare patients.
If the AK medicare program is so great how very few of our local doctors want to participate?
I don't know what the exact answer to our healthcare issues are for Alaskans, but this guy should refine his arguments a bit and consider reality before he starts spouting off.
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