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Meandering thoughts of a Bay Area college student… be prepared for some bipolar vocabulary

On Health Care

The situation is at its peak. Over 40 million Americans are living without health insurance. Families are living in fear every day of being hurt and incurring massive, unrestricted medical bills. Families risk foreclosure and a life of debt without an affordable option to the current health insurance industry. Insurance premiums and copays, though a better alternative to paying the full price of certain drugs and a $100,000 medical bill, are still out of reach for the poorest and many middle-class Americans.

The fact of the matter is: in order to escape the high insurance premiums, many Americans risk it by avoiding health insurance so that they can pay their mortgage and bills on time. A risk that can cost them dearly, for a single mistake can ruin entire families to bear a burden that they cannot afford. We all believe in second chances because we all know that there was never a single time that we were immune to mistakes such that we can ignore this enormous risk. We all make mistakes and, honestly, stuff happens. Honest, hardworking families should not have to pay dearly for a single mistake.

What we need now is a great social reform that rivals and, hopefully, replaces medicare to the extent that we an insure the uninsured and protect the livelihood of all Americans.

First off, to clear any misconceptions that others may have over health care reform. The Government is not going to take over your health insurance company. They have too many other problems to be dealing with the complicated infrastructure of insurance companies.

Secondly, the Government is not going to go bankrupt from reckless spending on health care. The cost of the new health care plan is estimated to be at $900 billion over ten years. In addition, the new tax increase on the wealthy is projected to bring in $550 billion over the next ten years. The cost of health care would be minimal compared to military spending and social security. We spend close about $1.3 trillion on the medicare and defense combined in one year.

Thirdly, the most popular health care package being discussed right now is the “public option”. In which a government-sponsored insurance business is created to compete with existing health insurance companies. The idea is that the competitor would drive costs down and control medical expenses. The fear associated with this idea is that the government should not compete with existing companies like the postal service and it might drive the insurance companies bankrupt. But, in the words of a hardcore conservative, let them fail. The market will decide which companies will fail and which shall succeed through the number and quality of services that they provide.

In order for the health care reform to be successful, we must ask ourselves this fundamental question. What is the role of government in our lives?

I say that in the wisdom and the spirit of the authors of the Constitution, one of the great duties of the government is to “provide for the common defence and general welfare  of the United States” (Article I, section 8). The government exists to solve the great social problems and external dangers of the world. The powers to invoke the military, establish social security, and provide medicare is derived from this great clause from our Constitution.

I think we can all agree that the point of the health care legislation is to allow common access to health care. On a deeper level, it is an attempt to provide equality for all Americans regardless of economic status or ability to pay. Don’t scream “Socialism!” yet, because we all know that this health care legislation is nowhere near the kind of overhaul Socialism would do to insurance companies.

Now, I’m not a complainer. I know that insurance companies are businesses and they need to make a profit. I work in my parent’s business and I know that businesses exist to make a profit. However, nobody should be profiting off of people’s lives. When a rejected claim can ruin families across the nation, the profiteering of other’s suffering must not be tolerated in America. The price for a healthy America is much more modest than the price of a ruined one.

That’s where the Government should step in and introduce a public option that does not discriminate between individuals with pre-existing conditions and those without it. A public option that does not allow medical costs to bankrupt honest, hard-working Americans because their insurance would not cover it.

The need is urgent. In economic times as bad as this one, a universial health coverage would protect the middle and lower classes while ensuring a better future for Americans.

-Eddie

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