Notes and thoughts on the healthcare issue

The issue of healthcare/health insurance in America and Obama’s reforms to the same are a huge issue–too large to be explained or even fully considered in any single blog post.  So instead, below are some of my thoughts related to the issue.  I encourage those who know more/think differently/have anything at all to add to do so in the comments.  Rich?

  1. To be clear, I support a government mandate to carry health insurance.  I would prefer universal coverage, but I see this as an acceptable compromise.
  2. I wish that those on the right would refocus their anger about the mandate to the freeloaders who are happy to go without insurance and then rack up large medical bills that are picked up either by the government or rolled in to higher rates for the insured.
  3. I was badly burned when I was living and working in Japan.  I spent two months in the hospital and had three major skin grafts. By virtue of my resident status and Japan’s universal healthcare insurance, the vast majority of the costs were covered by the government.  The remaining portion was covered by insurance provided by my employer–but would not have bankrupted me had I been responsible for it.  The care I received through this nationalized health care system was excellent.  While I realize this is only one anecdote, it is always at the front of my mind when we discuss health care.
  4. A question: how many of the protesters outside the Supreme Court today don’t already carry some form of health insurance?
  5. Another question: what is it with conservatives and their distaste for broccoli?  First President George H.W. Bush, now Justice Antonin Scalia:  “Everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food; therefore, everybody is in the market. Therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.”
  6. I’m no lawyer, but I think I do understand the basics of how insurance works.  And based on that understanding, this statement by Michael Carvin who is representing the National Federation of Independent Business makes no sense whatsoever:  “There’s a perfectly legitimate way they could enforce their alternative, i.e., requiring you to buy health insurance when you access health care, which is the same penalty structure that’s in the Act.”  Um, that would be like trying to buy car insurance after you have an accident.  (As an aside, Mr. Carvin was a lead lawyer for Bush in Bush v. Gore.)
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