Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago after reading about a post against healthcare reform from John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods. It may be a little late to the debate but I felt like I had to post this…
Healthcare is too important of a topic to leave to the political blogs, media and politicians. It’s an issue that affects everyone. If the U.S. were to offer universal healthcare, I would jump on it. Unfortunately, I have to endure this current system due to gun-toting protesters and big-time CEOs like that of Whole Foods.
His ideas for reform clearly shows that he is out of touch with middle America’s needs. This isn’t surprising. What is more surprising is that the average Joe, i.e. anyone not in top 1% earning bracket, is against any reform that would benefit him/herself and their families.
For example, he suggested removing legal obstacles which slow the creation of high deductible health insurance plans and Health Savings Accounts. What he clearly does not realize is that these high-deductible plans (he cites a $2,500 annual deductible) are cost prohibitive for the average worker. $2,500 is a drop in the bucket for CEOs but not for the average family.
He also suggests that our skyrocketing healthcare costs is due to government mandates and ruinous lawsuits. While ruinous lawsuits can be a problem, healthcare costs are outrageous due to the greed of our pharmaceutical company, insurers and hospitals that benefit from high prices. When everyone operates to make a profit, the consumer (us) pay the price.
He suggests making costs transparent. I agree with this. However, comparing costs about cable bills is one thing; comparing these costs during stressful and possibly life-threatening situations is another. If you’re single and need to undergo surgery, how much energy do you have to compare the cost of surgery, in-patient hospital stays and the various aspirins and bandages that the hospital will inevitably lump into your final bill.
And of course he brings up countries with universal healthcare like Canada and the U.K. because bashing the Canada and the U.K. healthcare system has become a favorite game for the U.S. However, ask any Canadian or European citizen, preferably one who has lived in our country, if they would abolish their own system and you’ll hear a resounding “No.” Invariably they are shocked by our country’s health care system — a profit-making entity that favors the wealthy and healthy.
Lastly, don’t buy the myth that the middle-class or even upper middle-class will be paying taxes to support the “lazy” welfare class. The truth is, we can no longer rely on pensions or life-long employment or any sort of job security. Most of us will be in-between jobs at some point in our lives. Many people will strike out on their own and not have employer-paid health insurance. Many of us will be deemed to have pre-existing conditions that make insurance insanely expensive (if you can get insurance at all). Finally, without any oversight, you will likely pay for insurance for years and then be denied tests and treatment just when you really need it. Reform isn’t only about helping the uninsured; it is also helping those who currently have jobs and health insurance.
Now I do think that some people should be against reform. Take this quiz and find out where you belong.