Everyone who is trashing Obama’s healthcare plan should be required to answer the following multiple choice question:
Pick A or B:
A. I don’t want any changes to our healthcare system. I’m cool with the fact that 50 million Americans don’t have coverage.
B. I agree that our system needs to be reformed, but I think there’s a better option than the one Obama’s proposing.
If your answer is B, pick from the following three options, described by Paul Krugman. (Krugman notes that “every wealthy country other than the United States guarantees essential care to all its citizens”–except us. Which is why Obama’s pressing for change).
Nationalized healthcare. “In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false. Like every system, the National Health Service has problems, but over all it appears to provide quite good care while spending only about 40 per cent as much per person as we do. By the way, our own Veterans Health Administration, which is run somewhat like the British health service, also manages to combine quality care with low costs.”
Nationalized health insurance. “The second route to universal coverage leaves the actual delivery of health care in private hands, but the government pays most of the bills. That’s how Canada and, in a more complex fashion, France do it. It’s also a system familiar to most Americans, since even those of us not yet on Medicare have parents and relatives who are. Again, you hear a lot of horror stories about such systems, most of them false. French health care is excellent. Canadians with chronic conditions are more satisfied with their system than their U.S. counterparts. And Medicare is highly popular, as evidenced by the tendency of town-hall protesters to demand that the government keep its hands off the program.”
Private insurance with strict rules to make sure that everyone’s covered. “Finally, the third route to universal coverage relies on private insurance companies, using a combination of regulation and subsidies to ensure that everyone is covered. Switzerland offers the clearest example: everyone is required to buy insurance, insurers can’t discriminate based on medical history or pre-existing conditions, and lower-income citizens get government help in paying for their policies.”
Obama is essentially proposing that we move from our system to the Swiss system: Private insurance with rules that make sure that everyone’s covered.
So which is it, Obamacare-trashers?
(A). The status quo, in which we remain the only wealthy country in the world in which basic healthcare isn’t guaranteed, or
(B), one of the other options above?
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