Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Why We Must Obtain Universal Healthcare Now

As popular as Michael Moore's "Sicko" has been, the central message of the film is sometimes lost in complaints about levels of detail for a universal program. What is most striking in the film is the awareness that NO ONE in America has guaranteed health insurance. No one can say with certainty that treatment for their ailment will be covered. Treatment could be denied for any reason at any time in a "for-profit" system. And the sicker you are and the more desperately you need treatment, the more likely you are to be denied coverage. Imagine learning you have cancer and no surgery or treatment is covered, or you have to wait until it has spread throughout your body to hear back whether something is covered and by then, it's so advanced that treatment is deemed "experimental." Every for-profit company has been sued on these grounds. Whatever you insurance you currently have is no exception.

We have to get past the idea that the only problem of the for-profit health care system is that it creates a class system in which the middle class gets treatment and the poor suffer or are left out. It also creates an aristocracy, not of the wealthy, but of the well. Even there, health insurance companies offer little incentive for healthy lifestyles or changes of habit. Premiums are going up. Is it because we're getting better care or because insurance CEO's are taking out their own "insurance policies" in a manner of speaking.

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