27 September, 2011

Solving the healthcare crisis.

It's official. I am a genius.

Earlier this month, I decided to solve some of the problems of poverty by taking some of our tax dollars, and giving them back to everyone in equal proportions. The minor downside to this program is that I don't think everyone in the world will fit inside my country.

Now I find that an experiment in Canada may prove that it could also solve the health care crisis.

I am not unconcerned with people who need regular medical care. But it is NOT my first priority. And I'm not totally convinced that universal health insurance is the solution. Maybe universal poverty prevention payments are.

Or sliding-scale poverty prevention payments?

I had a couple of discussions about this last week, about the problem of people in our country who can't, anymore, afford the health care they need. To stay alive.

Sadly, this is, for about a gazillion reasons, a growing problem.

I met a lady on the bus a week or two ago. It was a long bus ride, and I was unable to put my earplugs in, and she was willing, so we had an enjoyable conversation. She implied I would not need to lose ANY weight to get a man. (Which is true.)

And we discussed our experiences. And education. And health care.

She works for a health insurance company. And needs regular health care. And her husband is out of work. And she is a little worried.

Another friend's take was based on the whole 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' bit in the declaration of Independence or whatever. Where affordable access to healthcare, as necessary for some people to STAY alive, makes affordable health care an inalienable right.

I could not articulate it all that well at the time, but I absolutely disagree.

My take is that any health care is covered under the pursuit of happiness. And that the right to life is obviously not inalienable. Not for cows, not for some life-forms inside a human being, and certainly not for the sick people with problems we still can't cure.

I eat meat, I am pro-choice, and I oppose the death penalty. And I think antibiotics are the bees knees!

My brother Darby had better health care than any I had ever heard of, when I moved in with him, years ago. He was a member of a union, and I believe the health insurance was, as it should be, truly cooperative. And not. For. Profit.

Or maybe it was for profit. The competition that profit inspires generally makes expensive things cheaper. Look at the Sky Mall catalog from 10 years ago if you have any doubts on this topic.

For him, affordable access to healthcare did not even reach the elevated level of 'pursuit of happiness'. Or save him.

So I am totally cool with research being for-profit. I kind of wish the profits of medical research were as well-protected as the profits of, say, a hit single by Paris Hilton would be. (I have no idea if she sings, but if she is willing I will TOTALLY write her a song about saving the world.)

I mention Paris Hilton here for a reason. I have heard a lot of people bad-mouthing the contributions that Paris Hilton has made to our society. I've never met her, but I am certain that there are at least 20-50 people who have had gainful employment (JOBS) because Paris Hilton is who she is, and does what she does.

The question apparently becomes, "Does Paris Hilton pay enough in taxes?"

Does anybody?

I really don't know what the tax rate would be in my imaginary utopian society.

Apparently the US falls somewhere between the rates imposed in Belgium (the highest?) and Ireland (not the lowest).

Are we getting as much for our tax dollars as Belgium and Ireland?

Frankly, I can argue that we are getting more.

But I am not going to.

Because I am MOST concerned that we do not have adequate technology to prevent some of the evils of poverty.

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