OPINION: Health care debate needs cooperation, compromise

No matter what policies our government implements, we will never employ every American citizen in this country.
Economists generally define “full employment” as the condition where all or nearly all people willing and able to work can do so.
In other words, not everybody wants to work, for some reason or the other.
Likewise, universal health care may be a noble idea, but improbable, if not impossible.
Why? Because not everyone wants health care coverage.
While debate rages over the nearly 50 million people without health care insurance, little is said about those in that group who couldn’t care less.
For them, health care is covered by a trip to the emergency room, which serves as their primary physician. The ER isn’t cheap, either.
But for some, going there instead of having to pay a premium or a deductible works out fine. If they can pay the bill, great. If not, the hospital can write it off.
Health care reform might eliminate some of the problem. But there always will be those who want – and expect – free health care.
And that’s a major issue for many, many Americans.
Few would argue that the U.S. health care system is as bad – or as good – as advertised. Clearly, it has deep problems that need fixing.
Health care in this country is too expensive. And more people need better and more affordable access, including those who already have insurance.
President Obama said many details need to be worked out. No kidding. He said he’s willing to listen, willing to talk.
Yet Congressman Barney Frank essentially said “we Democrats came to power, we control Congress and the White House, so why do we have to compromise?”
Brilliant. Let the games begin.
Democrats will roll out patients who will share their horror stories. And they’ll also bring British, French and Canadian doctors and patients who say their health care systems are the best thing since sliced baguettes.
Republicans will have patients share their stories of unparalleled service and compassion. And they’ll bring in British, French and Canadian doctors and patients who say their systems are monstrous bureaucracies that keep them from delivering and receiving decent health care.
We may have an immovable object meeting an irresistible force, and squeezed in the middle are U.S. citizens wondering why the officials we elected to serve us can’t solve what is unquestionably a problem.
Controlling costs – which includes waste and fraud – is critical if tens of millions are going to be covered. If not, $900 billion will be burned through like the Cash for Clunkers money.
Politicians from both sides have said we should keep what is good and fix what is broken with our health care system.
But can a political system that has its own problems cooperate and compromise?
If not, eventually all of us will end up in the ER, wondering how – and why – our leaders failed us. Again.

Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seid@djournal.com.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

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