Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lack of National Commitment over Health Reform

Have you ever wondered about the lack of national commitment to health reform?  
Well,  I have. 
After all, this nation committed itself to developing the atomic bomb,  to putting a man on the moon,  to winning the Cold War, surely should be able to committee itself to national health.
Why not health reform?    Our health  affects us all, and we all want to retain our health , prevent disease, and ward off death as long as we can. 
I have come to these conclusions.
One,   health reform is a personal, not a collective matter. Given human nature,  most of us  act out of personal self-interest rather than collective interest. And as Adam Smith pointed out in the Wealth of Nations,  personal economic self-interests raises everybody’s  overall interests.
Two, with health reform,  there is no external threat to our nation’s personal health, no competition with other nations related to our personal existence or health or survival.
Three,  health reform, Obama style, is dedicated to covering 14% of the uninsured population,  but when it was launched, 86% were satisfied with their health care.  Those numbers persist to this day.
Four,   human behavior is predicated on the notion of the survival of the fittest  and the winnowing out of the less fit.  In a free enterprise competitive society,  neither compassionate liberalism or compassionate conservatism works very well. This truth is too bad, but it exists.
Five,    in  a pragmatic center-right capitalistic nation,  results are more compelling than rhetoric,   no matter who noble  or eloquent.  Reform is expensive, in the neighborhood of $1 trillion spread over 10 years, and its results in improving health so far are not impressive.  As a cynic said, “when they say it’s the principle and not the money, it’s the money.”
Six,  lack of bipartisan agreement  about how to go about introducing reform  or how to calculate its long-term costs,hampers its implementation in an impatient nation, that developed an Atomic Bomb in 5 years,  won World War II in 4 years and put a man on the moon in 7 years.
Seven,   somehow the scientific approach -  computer-collected metadata as a means of guiding and paying for health care, though  objective and admirable in its way  because of its lack of emotional, moral, and political content,  lacks humanism  and individualism and freedom of choice,  and doesn’t sell well.

Human nature and national nature, be not proud.   But sometimes telling it the way it is rather than the way it ought to be clears the air and clarifies the situation.

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