Sunday, December 06, 2009

Segue into health care discussion

My friend George at Decrepit old Fool published a piece about peace and pacifism yesterday, to which I responded. Our friend, Sue Byler, (at least I'm pretty sure SueB = Sue Byler!) made the connection between the cost of war and violence and the lack of funding for socially desirable policies such as promoting policies that supported having a healthy citizenry. I started writing a reply to that specific comment, but decided not to hijack the thread, so publish it here.

Thanks, Sue, for the segue.

Sue: I agree with your sentiment regarding health care. But truly, health care is never "free", at least in the context of a socio-economic system based on an exchange of currency for goods and services.

I mention this only because (and sorry to hijack this thread...) I think using the word "free" in the context of the health care "debate" (if one can call it a true debate ... yelling/pissing match seems more appropriate...) is counterproductive for those of us who support universal health care.

And really, that is where the discussion should be centred right now. The reality is that a universal health care policy and system will save money and increase both efficiency and standard of living. But the minute we use the word "free", it inflames the right wing and even raises flags for many of those in the political centre.

Canada is often cited as having "free" health care. It isn't free. It is funded through taxes. The differences are:

1. It is universal and federally mandated under the Canada Health Care act.

2. Employment-based contribution or taxation is not required for coverage. In other words, if I lose my job, I am still entitled to health care services.


jannx said...

totally unrelated to the discussion on universal health care, studies have been done on quality of health care, quality of life and productivity. The astounding find? They are directly correlated.

Sue Ann said...

Wee Dram: I'm sorry to have used the term "free" health care!! I am very much on the same page as you are. I know health care isn't free, but it should be available for all. I'm also a "universal" advocate! And if my taxes go up due to that, so be it--my neighbor/friend/whoever--deserves the same health care I do, even if they can't pay for it. I have a son in Germany and family in Canada and neither need fear they will lose their homes due to experiencing a catastrophic illness in their families. So I very much agree with you! Sue Byler

WeeDram said...

Sue : So very good to see yor comments and to have connected with you again. All the best to you, your family and all the friends I haven't seen in a long time!