Monday, January 6, 2014

No. 18: Comments from Readers and Others about Universal Health Care

My blog post No. 12 entitled "The Expanded and Improved Medicare For All Act of 2013" (the Conyers bill), which also mentioned the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), generated some diverse responses. There were those who oppose universal health care. For example, Robert Bland, CLU, said:
I respectfully disagree about the need for socialized medicine and the destruction of the private practice of medicine in the U.S. We did the Amtrak and Post Office dance for decades, and mirroring those failures with one-sixth of the entire economy would be a disaster as socialized medicine is in every country that has it.
Mr. Bland went on with horror stories about long waits in Canada for routine tests that take only days in the U.S. He also said kings and queens come to the U.S. for critical medical care.

On the other hand, there were those who support universal health care. For example, Alan Press, CLU, said:
I agree with you that a single-payer system is the only solution and that the Conyers bill is unlikely to pass. However, I am not quite as pessimistic as you are about the future. The PPACA is a good step but it does not adequately address increased costs and the additional medical infrastructure, both of which will be required to provide care for those previously uninsured.
On December 5, 2013, Colin Powell, a long-time Republican, spoke in Seattle at a fundraiser for prostate cancer research. Among other prominent positions, he is a former Secretary of State, a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a retired four-star U.S. Army general. According to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal, he expressed strong support for universal health care. He acknowledged his family's favorable experience with health care provided for the U.S. military. He said both he and his wife had swift, effective treatment for serious health problems and never had to fear whether they could afford the care they needed. He also said:
We are a wealthy enough country with the capacity to make sure that every one of our fellow citizens has access to quality health care. [Let's show] the rest of the world what our democratic system is all about and how we can take care of all of our citizens.
Providing universal health care necessarily will place pressure on the delivery system. However, I am confident that the medical education resources of our great nation are capable of expanding the supply of physicians and nurses, and that our construction industry is capable of expanding medical facilities to meet the demand. I cannot accept the idea that a major portion of our population must be denied access to adequate health care.