Since Congress officially passed the health care bill last night (what was all the fuss about Scott Brown derailing this again? Anyone?), I figured I'd weigh in with some brief thoughts of my own on health care.
First, I'd just like to point out that in theory I support a health care plan that lets the poor and disadvantaged get treatment. I will get into this in a bit more detail in a minute, but since I know some of you hotheaded morons out there will just see some of my points and immediately start flying off the handle about my being a "heartless Republican," I had better put it out front.
So. To start with, I saw a lot of comments over the past few days about this being a "basic human right." I think the fact that so many folks see it as a basic human right says a lot about where our society has gone. "Basic human rights" are things you should be ALLOWED TO DO for yourself. Not things that should be GIVEN to you. It would be a basic right for you to be able to get the health care of your choosing, but not for it to be provided for you by others free of charge.
THAT BEING SAID, since I can already hear the smoke coming out of the hotheaded liberal ears out there, I do actually believe that some sort of public health care plan is something we should strive for as a society. While "basic human rights" are things that should not be TAKEN from us by a free society, the reason we set up these societies in the first place is to pool resources for the betterment of everyone involved. Building infrastructure, defense, and taking care of the sick seem to all fall within that umbrella. The Preamble to the Constitution : "establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare..." (hey, I did that from memory; not bad!). Obviously up to interpretation, but still, even the "heartless Republicans" out there on some level want to help their fellow man, I think they just worry at what cost (and get stirred up into a paranoid furor by the Glenn Becks of the world).
Really, I have a few major concerns. These concerns may even be addressed in the legislation itself; I don't have the time to sit and read the hundreds of pages or to convert it from legaleze to readable English, which is yet another failing of our government, but whatever. I also don't trust the overviews you get from the "news"; they're either full of ridiculous praise that ignores any faults or doom and gloom about Socialism and I just don't have the patience for that shit anymore. If you think this is a black and white, Democrat or Republican issue just put a bullet in your fucking stupid head now so we can stop listening to your idiotic diatribes about heartless Republicans or Socialist Commie Democrats.
Anyway, the issues. If I called my doctor today and asked for a physical, they would say that there's about a six month waiting list. God's honest truth, six months. If it were "urgent" I'm sure I could see SOMEONE today, but to see my doctor for a scheduled visit, six months. This says to me that providers are a very limited resource. Whatever problems exist out there with what things cost and insurance, there just are not enough doctors to treat every single person in America. So I truly hope that the current legislation also provides some kind of incentives for people to become doctors and nurses, and maybe some financial help for those who would want to go into medical school. We need more of them in the CURRENT system, with the new system we're gonna need even more than that.
And on the same point, I hope with the public health care option there is some deterrent to visiting the doctor for minor reasons. Someone posted on Facebook recently how she was happy about the health care bill because last month she had a sore throat, and couldn't go to the doctor because of a lack of insurance. But the thing is... she got better. She didn't NEED to go to the doctor. I HAVE insurance, but some of my co-pays, especially for an emergency room visit, are enough of a deterrent for me that if I feel sick, I better believe I'm REALLY sick before seeing the doctor. So I have concerns that people will abuse the system, even beyond the usual abuses we see with Medicare and the like today. Where medical staff are already a limited commodity, any abuse is going to put a HUGE stress on the system.
I also have concerns that I outlined earlier about the pre-existing conditions debate, and I won't reiterate those now, but read that post if you haven't.
Above everything else - the bill has passed. Being for or against it is a moot point, at least for a while, so I really hope people can stop pretending it's a black and white issue and really start debating how to make it work. I promise you this new system is no more perfect than the old one, and being complacent just cuz your "side" won ain't gonna improve it any more than being angry that your "side" lost is.