Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Do we "care"?

Paraphrasing Dean Baker, this article on the real impact of ObamaCare is no reason not to criticize its many flaws, but it is already helping real people, like Mary, ...
"the 41-year-old call-center worker [who] headed to the health clinic on Highway 15 [and] saw a doctor about her chronic stomach ulcers, had her blood drawn for tests and collected referrals for all the specialists she had been told she needed but could never afford."

...or these people, some of whose very lives it saved:
"I am ObamaCare. Thanks to President Obama’s Health Care Reform, I was able to get PCIP Insurance after I was diagnosed with a uterus full of tumors in the ER. This insurance allowed me to get the surgery I needed to get well."
 Health "care" is a funny phrase, ironic even, especially if you've ever been at the mercy of the institutions it represents.  The arrogance of the system and many of its agents, the unheeding martinets who take charge of you when you're ill, the faceless incompetence, the excessive rulemaking that strips you of dignity and reduces people to inanimate engines to be repaired, the nickel and diming and Kafkaesque mazes of bureaucracy, the paperwork, the petty billing, the long waits (no, it's not just in Canada!), and the overwhelming sense of powerlessness that are the blessings of the "finest health care system in the world."  And most health "care" systems share at least some of these characteristics, though many of them less so than ours.

Yet, people do tend to be worse off without any.  The question, if we truly "care" about "health," is how to best serve the greatest number of people.  The ACA is not the best.  It is not the law we really needed to pass.  The ACA's flaws are not minor.  They are major, long term, and structural.  But, like any life-saving medicine that still does not give us back the lives we deserve, we cannot just pitch it out -- if we truly "care" about people.

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