A few important points

Reader comment on: Anthem Blue Cross and Health Reform

Submitted by ben (United States), Feb 19, 2010 14:47

First - healthcare is a good unlike any other. Without healthcare, you may get sick and die. Without The Times, you may be forced to read AM New York. The impact of a rate increase in healthcare is far more consequential to this country, which is why the recent events in California are far more shocking and upsetting to people. Who cares if the Times increases its prices, stop buying the times. If your healthcare increases its prices (and there isn't an affordable alternate) then you go bankrupt, sell of the family jewelry or perhaps die.

Second, with respect to University tuition, I spoke with a person in the administration at an Ivy League school, and he cited the "need to compete" as the main driver of the increase in price. This may seem counterintuitive, usually when a company wants to compete they lower the prices. At this university, competing for faculty, and being able to afford giving free tuition to the poorest applicants, thereby guaranteeing the most talented student body are two of the main drivers of the cost increase. Finally, he cited HEALTH CARE COSTS as being an element in the tuition rise. Regardless of why tuition increases, the fact that a person can elect a public option at least means they don't have to rely on charity to get an education.

Third, building an argument around the plight of newspapers in the last decade is problematic. The news business is hardly a typical industry with which to compare anything, with the rise of the internet providing a free substitute.

Fourth, I do not agree that it is much a leap to link rising health care costs with an individual mandate and the public option. Wellpoint itself cited the lack of an individual mandate as a reason why premiums went up so much (they didn't say it in those words, but they cited many healthier people dropping coverage leading to a sicker pool of customers). Also, for a company making billions of dollars in profit, a public option that would compete with undoubtedly result in lower prices as the company shifted some its profits towards lowering its prices to retain customers.

States can be good incubators for many things, health care included. In fact, Hawaii has had virtually universal coverage for decades based on a system that mandates employers provide coverage. People are overwhelmingly supportive of this system, even Rush Limbaugh thought Hawaii did a great job caring for his heart issue a few week ago. We see what works, why not take it to scale across the country?

Finally, like so many arguments on this site, the underlying question arises that I ask my own 8th grade students. What is a right and what is a privilege in this country. Healthcare should be right. If it is a right, government should guarantee this right. Education is not a right enshrined in the constitution, but few (this site might be one of the few) would argue that in the United States, people (citizens and non-citizens) have a right to a free public education. Why? Because it makes our country stronger. A well educated populace is necessary to have a functioning democracy and allowing people to have a basic level of opportunity. The exact same logic can, and should, be applied to healthcare. Without one's basic health, he/she cannot experience the blessings of liberty that our founders wrote about.

Note: Comments are moderated by the editor and are subject to editing.

Other reader comments on this item

Title By Date
A few points on health care [208 words]Bob TrebilcockFeb 22, 2010 07:01
⇒ A few important points [570 words]benFeb 19, 2010 14:47

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to A few important points by ben

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Comments are moderated by the editor and are subject to editing.