Someone Has to Pay for Health Care.
A few months ago—I was traveling at the time—I needed to have something checked out and, instead of enjoying the Napa Valley Wine Train, I spent five hours in a hospital Emergency Room. They did an EKG, a CAT-Scan, took X-Rays, did some blood work and eventually I was pronounced good to go. The hospital bill arrived a couple of weeks ago. It was more than $13,000.
I thought about this today because the Republicans in Congress have just unveiled their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. I confess I am still unclear as to their specific objections to Obamacare—except, of course, that it came from Obama—but one of the objectives of the new GOP plan is clearly to reduce the cost to the federal government.
The problem is, they can diddle with the system all they want, but when it comes to health care, somebody has to pay.
In this country, when poor people and folks with no insurance get sick or hurt, they go to a hospital’s emergency room. And it doesn’t matter if it’s an old guy with a stroke or a little kid with a simple sore throat, they all get treated.
But who pays for the doctor’s time and for the X-Rays and for the medication they take with them when they’re released?
You and I do.
I paid for some of those people when the hospital billed me $13,000 for an examination and some routine tests. And you, too, will pay for the uninsured if and when you have to go to the hospital. We’re overcharged for one simple reason: we have health insurance and they don’t.
Here’s the nub of the problem: in order to pay for those inflated costs and still make a profit, the insurance companies constantly increase the premiums on my health insurance. And on yours.
There is one—and only one—obvious solution: Expand Medicare to cover everyone. Of course, that idea will never get past Trump and the Republican Congress because it goes against their political philosophy. Ponder that for a few minutes.
Walt Kelly’s cartoon character Pogo said it best.