POLICY: Why covering the uninsured matters

So there’s been lots of back and forth in both THCB and Don Johnson’s BusinessWord about the uninsurance issue. Take a look at my comments alone to understand some of the issues involved.  And randomly enough it’s "Cover the Uninsured Week".  The irony of Orrin Hatch, a crypto-fascist from the wonderful state of Utah, being one of the Senators kicking off the week is just too delicious to forgo a mention. But the real issue and the reason to care is that, if you don’t have access to health insurance, your care and your health will be worse. In fact CDC data show that millions of uninsured adults forgo needed treatment for chronic health conditions. And of course who pays when they do show up for the treatment they need when these conditions have got worse? They do with their pain and those of us who are taxpayers or insured pay with our money.

Meanwhile Don fails to answer my question about what’s the difference between subsidies for the uninsured and more taxation, other than saying that universal insurance would not answer the question for the poor and the uninsured!!  That’s just ridiculous and is patently untrue.  If health care was free at the point of use, people wouldn’t not get it for cost reasons nor would they be beholden to huge debts because of it — those are by far the two worst symptoms of uninsurance. But he does raise the real politik situation when he says that:

What is the greater good here, take care of the 93% of Americans who
are insured today or the 7% who are uninsured for a year or more? I
think I know how the insured and their representatives in Congress will

And that’s the problem. So long as the majority (actually only 80%)
perceive their plight to be divorced from the minority, and no one
gives a tinkers cuss about the poorer 20%, we end up with what we
have.  Of course in reality we’re all mostly getting a worse deal than
we perceive and we’d be better off financially in a universal system that had built in cost constraints. So we are not seeing a "greater good". But then again hiding information from us is what the system’s all

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