WHO the Health Cares?

A rant about the insolvency of Obama Care, including a comparison to Taiwan’s health care system.

Readership: All

The general response to the recent healthcare issue is becoming almost as violent and divisive as slavery was during the Civil War.

I have a dream!  I have a dream today!  I have a dream that every American citizen can be able to see a doctor and eat three nutritious meals every day!

Every year, the U.S. Government donates billions of dollars to overseas food distributors and medical care alliances. Every year, the American people donate billions of dollars to their churches, to charity organizations, to different relief funds, to food pantries, to homeless shelters, to health and disease research centers, etc.

But why are we spending so much money on these causes, while we can’t come up with a comprehensive health care budget so that everyone can see a doctor?

My cousin owns a small business with net profits of about $2M a year.  He hates the idea of a nationalized health care system, because he thinks his business will be forced to pay expensive premiums for every one of his employees.  He says if he has to do that, his business will go bankrupt.  He also thinks it’s politically wrong for the government to force such obligations on the achievers and “breadwinners” of society.

I see my cousin’s point, but he is assuming that a win-win arrangement is unachievable.  Personally, I like to believe that the American people are better at being ingeniously creative and resourceful, than they are at being greedy sponges.

Yes, people will have to pay for the health care plan somehow, but the nation pays for a lack of health care in other ways.  Look at the children of parents who don’t have health care coverage.  They never go to the doctor, and because of their poor health as a child, they tend to battle illnesses their whole lives.  When they are sick, they miss many days of school, they fall behind, they lose self esteem…  some drop out in order to find a job so that they can afford to pay for necessary prescriptions, or some sort of health care for themselves or for older family members who cannot work.  Some turn to crime, and a few end up in prison.  THAT is expensive!

I guess we could always say, “That is someone else’s problem!”  But we must act collectively if we want to solve a problem this large.  Do people know what a collective effort is?  Is a collective effort in devising a health care system called a “class action” or is it considered “socialism”?

I’ve heard a lot of talk about “socialism”.  I don’t really understand why people think a national health care program is equivalent to socialism.  A national military is not considered socialist. Government funded research is not considered socialist. I guess “socialism” conjures up images of Nazi Germany in most American’s minds, but the United States is not a dictatorship. There are lots of “good socialist” countries: Canada, France, Finland, Sweden…  Polls show that the quality of life in these countries are the highest in the world.

[Eds. note (November 24, 2018): Sorry, France and Sweden have fallen by the wayside. Socialized socialism was not sufficient to preserve their cultures.]

Furthermore, why are people so afraid of America turning socialist?  I mean, do they really think it could happen?  Who in their right mind would think that America would ever turn socialist?  The American political tradition has turned the world on its ear since 1776 by declaring that the government is the servant of the people, and not the other way around.  This is the whole underlying principle of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Have American’s forgotten this?  The day when Americans become too dumb and lazy to exercise and defend their constitutional freedoms is the day there will be a need for socialism in the government.

[Eds. note (November 24, 2018): A lot has changed since I wrote this post. That day now seems to be approaching.]

I’ve lived in the United States for more than 32 years, and I’ve worked and paid taxes to Uncle Sam for more than 14 years.  I’ve also been a Federal Government employee (GS-9).  I know what it is like to have health care, and I’ve learned how to live without health care too.  Fortunately, I’ve never been seriously ill without health care coverage, but I can imagine it’s a nightmare for those who must endure such an experience.

When I worked for the government, I was covered by Medicare.  I paid US$125 a month premium, and my employer (the U.S. government) also paid into Medicare, an amount unknown to me.  A visit to the doctor cost US$20.  Prescriptions were US$5 each.  A trip to the emergency room cost US$125, and there was a hospitalization copay of US$250.  I was able to see any health professional I chose, as long as he accepted Medicare coverage.

I’ve lived in Taiwan for the past seven years.  We have a nationalized health care program here, and it’s pretty good.  I pay about US$30 a month for each person in my family.  A visit to the doctor costs US$5, and that includes any prescriptions the doctor might give me.  A trip to the emergency room costs US$20.  Hospitalization is reasonable too.  Earlier this year, I spent one night in the hospital for US$50.  A couple years ago, my wife delivered our baby, and before the delivery, she spent three weeks in the hospital due to complications, and her total bill was only US$300.  All doctors and pharmacists are licensed by the government, and many of them got their education in Europe or America.  There is one bad thing though… there is no anesthesia – it’s considered a luxury, and it’s eliminated to cut down expenses.  You can get it if you want it, but you need to pay for it yourself… it won’t be covered by the government plan.  It’s the same story for prosthetics.

Also, if I deem myself to be a person with extremely good health, I can choose not to participate in the national health program, and in such a case, I would pay full price for any health care that I choose to receive.  But of course, being insured is always better, even if it costs me a little bit.  One negative point is that the medicines and treatments that are more expensive are harder to come by, and so you need to spend a little time and effort to search for an atypically capable and conscientious doctor who is willing to go to a little more trouble to help you obtain those things.  On the other hand, America also has doctors that are good, and some others that aren’t.  But overall, I’m extremely pleased with the health benefits in Taiwan.

I sincerely believe that Americans can invent a health care system that is at least as good as Taiwan’s, or maybe even better.

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About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
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