46 million-or-so, who cares?

Christopher Taylor

It is a big deal. People’s lives are a very big deal. For about 46 million uninsured Americans, it’s a huge deal.

Warning: I begin by commenting that this topic is so broad and detailed I only cover a few facets.

I have had the opportunity to work with a number of patients in the hospital setting who are uninsured, and also poor and unemployed. Of course, many Republicans jump to the conclusion that they choose to live off welfare or Social Security checks and are lazy, even though they might be 80 years old or missing a leg.

These patients do not have any form of health insurance, making adequate treatment and regular check-ups something unaffordable. Even in emergency settings, patients are sometimes more concerned with how they will afford their bills and less about their healing process.

Make no mistake, the United States already extends partial benefits to support health care for less fortunate people. This comes at the expense of the taxpayers and to the objection of ignorant people who seem to think getting rid of Medicare or other government grants toward health care will save them a few bucks. The government pays for roughly 60 percent of all spending on health care already.

But if we stop thinking like the average, selfish American, we begin to understand the unmistakably human element concerning the protection of our fellow citizens. It is our moral obligation to help those in need.

I am not endorsing the idea of having nationalized health care until I am absolutely sure that it will be effective in the United States. But in theory, I think it would work pretty well.

Several smaller European countries have already adopted the system and seem to function well. In fact, these developed nations are posting better infant survival rates and higher life expectancy for their citizens. We must be concerned about not only acquiring quality health care, but also insist that health care is affordable and available to all people.

People who voice concerns about nationalized health care are usually afraid that the bureaucracy would expand to become even larger and that their right to control their own care will be in the hands of the government. Unfortunately, the government already has expanded through the worthless Office of Homeland Security while Bush listens to our calls to grandma.

We must remember, as congressman Jim McDermott said in 2004, “National health care does not mean government medicine.” It does mean that nearly all people will be insured. There would be no more rising premiums based on a competitive private industry. There would be a mass reduction in the number of people filing bankruptcy due to medical debt. And people would be assured that their insurance would not be stripped away because of a pre-existing condition. Also, people who already have health insurance would not be turned away from a facility because their insurance company is not accepted.

So, instead we stick with our current system of stuffing money down the throats of the slimeball insurance companies who don’t give a rat’s ass about anybody, while causing more employers to pile the costs on their employees.

I’m not expecting people to cooperate with the “European” way of doing health care when we can’t even switch to the metric system.

Christopher Taylor is a senior nursing major and point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at .