President Obama thinks that every American should have access to health care. Judge Henry E. Hudson in Virginia, however, ruled that compelling people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. (NY Times, New York Magazine, CNN)
President Obama is obviously correct. President Bush and Senator McCain might actually agree. Pres. ush, who appointed Judge Hudson to the Federal District Court, said in Cleveland, Ohio, July, 10, 2007, (1, 2), “People have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.” Sen. McCain repeated this during his 2008 campaign for the Presidency (click here). While this implies a form of universal health care, Pres. Bush and Sen. McCain, miss the nuance that emergency rooms are not primary care facilities (click here). Emergency rooms are designed for EMERGENCIES. They are not equipped to handle primary care (click here). (This is a ‘nuance’ big enough for an aircraft carrier to sail thru.)
Judge Hudson, however, may have a point. While it’s one thing to mandate that everyone have access to health care, it’s another to mandate that everyone patronize a set of investor owned or privately held enterprises. It’s like saying that every child must go to school, and must also go to a private school.
But if both Pres. Obama and Judge Hudson are right, is there a common ground?
Let’s look first at the uninsured.
They’re not the wealthy, because wealthy people can afford the $8,400 per year for individual insurance, and $2,500 per year for family coverage that an insurance company charges for their “low cost” in-network only plan, or the $10,416 to $27,996 the insurance company charges for their higher coverage individual and family plans.
They are not the children, covered thanks to President Clinton, or young people out of college, without a job covered thanks to President Obama.
They are not the elderly, who are covered by Medicare, thanks to Presidents Roosevelt and Johnson.
Nor are they the poor, who are covered by Medicaid, thanks to President Johnson.
They are not people with good jobs or union contracts.
They are not men and women who wear or wore the uniforms of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or National Guard and other armed forces who defend our country, and who are covered by the Pentagon, the Armed Forces, or the Veterans Administration.
They are not Senators, Representatives of Congress or Representatives to state and local governments or Judges. Nor are they former representatives who have been voted out of office. Our noble and honorable civil servants have voted themselves a privilege they deny the people who pay their salary, and pay for that privilege.
Even prisoners incarcerated because of crimes they have committed have access to health care.
That leaves working people between 18 and 65 who are not in college and who have neither a good job nor a union contract.
So how can we provide medical care to people who work, who’s taxes contribute to health care for politicians, soldiers, children, the elderly, criminals in jail, and others? If and when they get sick, in addition to lost productivity on their jobs, they present a clear and present danger to the health of the public.
The answer seems to be to expand Medicare, Medicaid, and the health care system that covers elected Representatives, Judges, soldiers, union teachers and other civil servants to include citizens. And what about medical practitioners who don’t want to take new Medicare and Medicaid patients? Expand the Veterans Administration – call it the Veterans and other Citizens Health Care Administration.
What about undocumented workers? They clean our houses, clean tables in restaurants, mow our lawns, work on factory farms, and in slaughterhouses. If and when they get sick, in addition to lost productivity, they present a clear and present danger to the public health.
Thus the system should be expanded, on national security and public grounds, to include undocumented workers. Call it the National Public Health System. Or Health Care for All Americans.
The other thing is, access to health care for people who don’t pay for it – the poor, the elderly, the incarcerated, and the politicians, is paid for by people who also pay double for their own health care. How is it logical and right that I should pay for someone else’s health care via taxes, yet pay for my own via an insurance premium?