Last night Frontline was about the national debt; next time they’re tackling healthcare, but they also touched on it last night. One commenter noted that fixing health care is really the most important item in stabilizing our economy long-term. With all the aging baby boomers, “everything else is a footnote.”
Mike, working in the insurance industry, hates that part of the job. He thinks, and I agree so far, that the way to transition from our current system to a workable universal system without further damage to the economy is to nationalize the health insurance companies. I think that makes a lot more sense than nationalizing the banks. Banks are in the business of making money; health insurance companies need not make a profit from the illness and suffering of our citizens and everyone else paying into the system, only to take the chance that they’ll STILL lose their home, livelihood, and financial future in the event of a serious illness or accident. I like Mike’s idea that the insurance companies stay intact but are transitioned from dictating care to managing health information systems. I realize it’s not really an either/or choice between the insurance companies and the banks, and there are likely infinite details I haven’t considered. I’m no economist, but some things are glaringly obvious to everyone – we need a big change.
Schmutzie recently wrote about her struggle with anger and depression and what it has taken to come close but not close enough to finding real help within the Canadian health care system. I don’t idealize universal health care; I realize that no system will be perfect, and it’s always only a matter of time before loopholes are exploited. However, wouldn’t a great way to fund a new universal (or whatever word wouldn’t turn off the conservatives) system be a new sin tax? On….wait for it…marijuana. It’s high time (har) that we decriminalize it, legalize it, and tax the shit out of it. Obama already issued an order to stop the raids and arrests in medical marijuana clinics or whatever you call them out in California, which is a step forward. Can you imagine the joy in the streets the day people could walk into a gas station or pharmacy or liquor store and just purchase a pack of joints, or whatever configuration is deemed good enough? Of course, it would still be illegal to drive under the influence, and there are another ton of details to consider here, but I think it’ll happen eventually. On that note, it’s lunchtime, and I kind of have the munchies. The legal kind, anyway.
I think I’ve forgotten to make one of Mike’s finer points – here’s hoping he’ll chime in in the comments along with everyone else.
ETA: Here are some powerful images related to the drug trade and the ongoing violence in and near Mexico: The Big Picture.