United States fails to tackle health care

Our current administration would rather put its faith in a losing model of health care.

Quynh Nguyen

The President’s veto on the SCHIP bill and the 13 Republican Congressfolks who supported it are all cowards. Pure and simple cowards.

Under SCHIP, states have been able to provide health-care for children whose parents made too much money to qualify for Medicare but too little to afford private plans. The costs of health care have been rising faster than SCHIP’s ability to keep up, hence the proposal to expand its budget.

The President and cowardly congressmen who supported his veto see SCHIP as a threat to private health care and oppose giving more funding to the already anemic program. They support their choice with flimsy arguments like “We don’t want to take a step towards socialized health care” but fail to give any real solutions to the health-care coverage dilemma.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans are uninsured and their numbers continue to grow. Private employers are finding it too costly to provide health benefits and get around it by making full-time positions part-time to limit benefit obligations. Some employers have outright reduced or cut their health-care coverage benefits for their staff.

The Republicans who oppose SCHIP on the grounds that it covers too much of the middle class fail to see the many situations where middle-class under-insurance happens.

Parents simply have to work at any of the many jobs that no longer offer health-care coverage, and pay rent or mortgage while covering living expenses for their children.

If a middle-class family of four makes more than $18,400 per year, they are not eligible for coverage through the government. The parents aren’t insured, the kids aren’t insured, and most likely, the only care they get is at the local ER when something really awful arises.

Heck, when you graduate, prepare to be uninsured. If you’re over the age of 18 and make more than $8,980 a year, you’re not eligible for Medicare. And anyone who has graduated and is trying to pay bills, rent, utilities and other living expenses can easily find themselves in jobs that don’t provide benefits, yet earn “too much” money to qualify for government health insurance. Little surprise that over 25 percent of uninsured Americans are 18 to 24 years old.

We spend the most in the world on health care (approximately 14 percent of our gross domestic product) but have huge gaps in coverage. France spends just 9.5 percent of its GDP on health-care coverage yet is able to cover its entire populace. We spend so much more but can’t even cover the same amount of people that other countries do. Sure, we have the best medical technology in the world, but when we can’t even provide access to care for people who need it, what’s the point?

Our President feigns bravery when he launches our country into wars in the Middle East, but cowers in front of a true killer of many Americans – underinsurance and poor health.

Bush’s idea of access is trite: “I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.” Silly, that’s only possible if hospitals in the area have not declared bankruptcy from the ER being swamped by uninsured patients.

Rather than taking the initiative and concluding, “Our 60-year experiment with private health-care coverage isn’t leading to a healthier America,” our current administration would rather stay the course and put its faith in a losing model of health care. Of course, that would be too brave, wouldn’t it?

Quynh Nguyen welcomes comments at [email protected]