HealthCommentary

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Reaching for Health Equity.

Posted on | July 18, 2019 | 1 Comment

Mike Magee

This past week, New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, laid out his concerns for our nation in the starkest terms. He defined the current Trumpian Republican leadership as “an overthrow of all the norms, values, rules, and institutions we cherish”, and asked Democrats who have been sparring with each other to “please, spare me the revolution! It can wait.”

Friedman sees the 2020 election as “a vote to save the country”, and lays out two simple priorities to prevail: 1)national unity and 2) good jobs (a job that can support a family and comes with health benefits).

As the “financial and carbon debts for our kids” rise in tandem with this weeks record temperatures across 2/3’s of our nation, it’s easy to go along with Friedman’s and Speaker Pelosi’s cautious approach, and status-quo (just one more time) to avoid what most would agree could be a Trump 2nd term-induced disaster for our nation and our planet.

But some – including me and Warren Buffet – would argue that the “government enriches the soil and entrepreneurs grow the companies” mantra, at least when it comes to health care, simply is no longer enough, and extends the appetite of what Buffitt calls “the tapeworm on America’s economic competitiveness.”

With one in five dollars already going to health care, a wasteful system that denies care as it bankrupts vulnerable citizens, and restricts upward mobility by trapping workers in jobs they hate for fear of loosing health insurance, supporting reasonable public safety net expansion is not radical – it’s sensible.

The shortest road to national unity is freedom from fear – fear of pain, fear of illness, fear of financial ruin, and fear of societal disruption in a state unable to embrace the basics of common decency and sound public health policy.

Growing income disparity, arguably, is our greatest threat. And the single, most effective move toward addressing it, would be accomplishing the original intent of the ACA, and assuring all of our citizens have comprehensive health insurance – through one pathway or another.

I’m with Friedman and Pelosi that, under the current circumstances, we can’t be reckless – for example forcing those who have it and like it out of their employer health plans. But we can offer them a better option – and many employees and employers will voluntarily choose that pathway.

We can also reassert appropriate checks and balances that disrupt what is now a criminal and collusive medical-industrial complex that has as much chance of adopting responsible self governance as does our current president in adopting virtue-driven and inclusive leadership.

Tom Friedman is correct in suggesting that we must be cautious and wise, but that does not mean that we must cower in the face of changes that are entirely reasonable and long overdue.

Comments

One Response to “Reaching for Health Equity.”

  1. Denise Link
    July 20th, 2019 @ 7:45 pm

    Yes, the way out of fear is not by creating another. Let people have their health plan they think they like and create an alternative that is better than what they have. They will vote with their feet instead of resisting having something forced upon them.

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