Paul Ryan recently said that people should be free to decide for themselves how much health insurance coverage they need. He wasn’t just talking about choosing a deductible. His definition of “freedom” includes the freedom to live without adequate health insurance if you can’t afford it.
This is nonsense; everyone needs full health insurance coverage. It’s partly a moral issue — I can’t find the Bible verse that says, “let the sick die.” But it’s also an economic issue. As Cosmo (from Moonstruck) would say, it costs money because it saves money.
When people go without health insurance they don’t get wellness checks, and when they start to exhibit signs of disease they often don’t see a doctor until the problem has substantially progressed. What happens then? They incur medical bills they can’t afford, and sometimes go bankrupt, become homeless, or end up on Medicaid and welfare. Their failure to pay forces health care providers to compensate by raising prices for everyone else. They miss work, lowering America’s productivity. They undergo increased stress, resulting in higher divorce and suicide rates. They die prematurely and leave families shattered. This depressing list could go on, but you get the point. Society runs better, we incur lower overall healthcare costs, and we spend less on other social services when we have a healthier population. And if we all have full health insurance; the system is there for us when we’re the ones who need care.
So how do we achieve universal health insurance coverage? We have two choices: The Affordable Care Act, or something similar, in which people are required to purchase individual health insurance, or “Medicare for all.” We need to pick one, and make it work. Patched together schemes like that recently put forward by Ryan and the GOP are non-starters.
Member Leelanau Co. Dems &