Observations About the 2022 Mid-Term Elections
As a person who majored in political science and has been engaged actively in public
On Friday, February 26, 2010, Gerald F. Seib, the Wall Street Journal reporter for the Capital Journal column, wrote an insightful column entitled “Parties’ Differences Are Clear – and That’s a Start.” In his column, he explained clearly the philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats on health insurance reform.
He stated that there were three fundamental differences:
Where do I stand?
Some very smart people have said to me: “Why don’t we solve the insurance problem now, since we can, and we’ll get to cost reduction later?”
Aside from the competitiveness issues to which I referred above, there are two other problems with expanding coverage and not dealing with upstream prevention and health care system issues:
I am most disappointed that the Democratic majority in Congress and the very capable White House staff could not establish a prevention and wellness agenda, and begin to take on the badly broken fee-for-service health care payment system.
People who argue the practical politics of tackling the insurance issue always point out to me that politicians are swayed by hard-luck stories, individuals who died or went bankrupt because they could not afford sufficient health insurance to cover catastrophic health problems like cancer, heart disease, or a serious injury. Unfortunately, no health insurance system can eliminate these tragic stories. Moreover, increasing demands on the health care system without increasing the supply of physicians and nurses creates other kinds of tragedies.
Politicians are very moved when an individual tells a story about being unable to afford a “life-saving” cancer treatment because of no or inadequate health insurance. What puzzles me about these stories is whether the patient has attempted to get relief directly from the pharmaceutical manufacturer. Every pharmaceutical company has programs to provide life-saving drugs for individuals who cannot afford them, and they provide relief for many patients every year.
However, the tragedy of someone who had no primary care physician because doctors in his or her community did not accept Medicaid patients, and, who, as a result, has an undiagnosed heart or diabetic condition, is a harder one to portray on the evening news. The patient generally does not understand that, but for a stingy government program, he or she might have had access to a doctor who could have diagnosed and treated the condition earlier. A public health official from India described the explosive growth of undiagnosed chronic disease cases as a “health tragedy in slow motion”
Implementing universal and affordable health insurance without addressing the imbalance between supply and demand in the underlying system will simply swap one kind of tragedy for another, at a much higher cost to the taxpayer and to businesses that can create jobs to bring many more people out of poverty. The Democratic majority seems hell-bent to do something, even if it is the wrong something, relative to health insurance. That’s too bad, and we will all pay dearly for the mistake.