With all the talk about health care reform and the many ideas surrounding it there's a solution to the problem that should make everyone happy.
First, the Democrats tend to lean towards 'free' health care for all, dubbed 'universal health care' in which everyone is afforded the medical treatment they 'deserve'. This isn't an idea of giving access to the health care they deserve because everyone already has access to the health care; it's just a matter of being able to afford it. The idea is that those in the lower economic class can't afford to get health care or health insurance. Add to this the tricky wording of health insurance companies that lure people in and then make them wait if they have pre-existing conditions or take part in a relatively unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking.
The problem with this is that in my opinion it opens the door for the government to dictate who is and is not covered based on popular opinion and if not, then opens the door for unregulated tax hikes to 'cover' people who do smoke (which is unfair since overeating and inadequate physical activity is just as much a threat to personal health as smoking). The government would have no option other than to put forth mandates that would require everyone change their lifestyle which then encroaches on civil liberties. Where they can get away with it is in that the common people effectively pay for the health care provided to everyone and therefore could have a majority vote in what lifestyles become too great a burden on the common shoulders. No thanks; if I want to smoke, I'm going to whether you agree with it or not. If I want to apply cheese and bacon to practically everything I eat, then I will. Conversely I expect to reap the consequences of my actions in terms of medical bills and lifespan. I find it hard to believe that a party of people who champion freedom of choice when it comes to personal life (i.e. abortion) would also simultaneously take part in creating a situation in which the same degree of choice could be removed (i.e. smoking, even in my car or home). This isn't to say that there would be a nationwide ban on smoking, but given the surge of smoking bans in public spaces and talks about making smoking illegal in places other than the home (not to mention the rants and raves of those who condemn smokers for smoking around kids, especially their own) isn't too far-fetched of an idea, is it? I don't think so.
Second, Republicans seem resistant to the ideas of Democrats and have yet to come up with their own health care reform plan other than to acknowledge that reform is needed. They've pulled a play right out of the Democrat playbook – do nothing and remain resistant so that you can't be part of the problem. The down side is that you're not helping anything either… or in my mind serves to make one part of the problem. Instead of going on and on about how bad of an idea someone has, bring to the table a counter idea (aside from 'leave it alone'). Currently the Republicans are a split faction; the progressives who claim to be trying to work towards a solution and the Conservatives which seem to be pissing and moaning while working to make more fingers to point. They're being just as stupid as Democrats right now with the only difference being that Democrats have power and will look worse in the end if things fail – there's too little of a Republican base in power and it's equally hard to blame something that couldn't change anything if they wanted to. Still, no idea is as counterproductive as a bad idea.
The problem with leaving health care alone is that we know health care is fucked up. People live the broken system every day. Sure, we have people getting what they need faster (relatively) than the Canadians who have to wait in line, and while we're not selling untested generics for pennies on the dollar like Mexico (and the currency conversion might have a lot to do with the cost effectiveness of buying drugs from Mexico) we're not spending too little of our GDP on UHC like Britain. Another problem is that Big Pharm has their hands in too many politicians' pockets… regulating and demanding that patents be allowed to run for years or be renewed before cheaper generics be given to those who need medications.
Healthcare is, was, and will be a business. Doctors aren't much different than a politician or a lawyer; at first they seek the profession to do good and make change and after a while they come to see the system for what it is and find it is much easier and lucrative to follow suit. There are exceptions to all three professions, but they're rare and there's a reason why those who go against the system are short lived or remain obscure. This isn't to say that the impending and pre-existing problems cannot be fixed, they just can't be fixed in a way that makes anyone as much or more money, which sadly defines the rules of the game. No one goes into business to put themselves out of business – it's a bad model. What is needed is a gradual decline and heightened awareness on a bi-partisan level in which everyone sees things for what it is… Democrats care as much as Republicans about my health but care more about their income. To make this point, which politicians on which side of the isle offered to take pay cuts during the economic crisis? Which politicians offered to fall under the exact same healthcare policies they're trying to promote? The answer is none of them. None of them care on a personal level – Republicans or Democrats. So we're just ending up redefining 'upper class' as 'politicians', right?
Still, I think the best way to fix this is to take the group of people who already get welfare, already get food stamps and already get section 8 housing and give them the 'free' health care. Those of us who pay higher taxes, pay rent or a mortgage, have a personal vehicle, and already pay for health insurance should move to the front of the line when seeking medical care. I'm sure there are those who would think this to be 'unfair', but it's not. It's really no different than… anything else in this country. If you own a TV you already get a set of free network channels and get access to popular TV shows. You get the news, crappy unrealistic reality TV, soaps, sit-coms and so on. People who get HD digital cable pay for it because they want it. I smoke because I want to, and I can afford to… I probably shouldn't and I know that it is detrimental to my health, but I enjoy it (for some reason). I also enjoy Dexter, NCIS, Mythbusters, and a number of other shows. Not only do I enjoy them, but I enjoy them in HD. Another example is in cars. I drive an '05 Altima… I'd like to buy a '10 Skyline but I have to work towards that. I know that the Skyline is less fuel efficient than the Altima and I know that I run a greater risk of speeding tickets in the Skyline, but I still want a Skyline. If I ever get one, then I'm expected to bear the burden of ownership on my own. I have to pay for the things I want or feel I deserve if I want them to the extent in which I have them. Just like with smoking, I know that I'll pay for it sooner or later and if I can afford to smoke then I can or should be forced to afford the consequences for it later. Now, I'm not directly stating that cable TV or luxury sports care are akin to the health of those in need – it's not… I'm comparing the principle of being allowed to jump in the line over those who have their health care handed to them and how it's not unfair to jump the line… if I'm paying for it I expect to get it. And, those who qualify for the medical coverage on tax dollars as they do for food stamps wouldn't be left to die… they just haven't earned the privilege of being seen first. How this would be kept from turning into a situation where the 'poor' are constantly being pushed to the back by the flood of those who can pay or would pay lies in implementing the idea that Doctors or clinics would only see 'free health care' patients. It would also require that they be afforded the same equipment to do the same procedures as those who paid. In life, you've got to work for what you want and nothing is truly free. It makes no sense to ask someone else to bear the burden of my choices and even though there are medical conditions people have that they didn't ask for or choose to contract (or be born with), it is still not a good reason to expect everyone to (or even want to) carry them when we look around and we're all struggling. This just isn't a case where teamwork is going to achieve the goal in a way that everyone wins.