Government Run Health Care Since 1956

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I’m not sure why it hasn’t been reported much in the mainstream media, but the government has operated a single-payer health care system for over 50 years. I guess we don’t want to have a real debated about the merits of the system. We’d rather call each other socialists and talk about care rationing. It’s ridiculous to me because I was covered by a government run health care system from birth until age 21 (because I stayed in school).

It was called Champus, later TriCare and it worked exactly how Aetna, Cigna, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield work as far as I can tell (as the insured). There was very low cost care available on military bases (in Network) and the option to choose your own doctor and pay higher co-pays (out of Network). When I was 7 and got sick on vacation, we went to the emergency room and it was covered. When I got tonsilitis in college, I went to a non-military doctor in Tallahassee and it was covered. Prescriptions were covered too. When I got my first job and private insurance, I didn’t notice any difference between it and the system I had grown up under except that I think my parents paid less in co pays and premiums (TriCare may be free, I’m not sure).

Did some government bureaucrat decide which doctors I could see and what procedures I could have? I’m sure, but some private-sector Cigna bureaucrat decides that for me now. Are government employees agents of evil trying to prevent Americans from getting the services they need? Really? Because I think that’s a very unpatriotic attitude. Government employees are Americans working in civil service to make sure we have schools, roads, a military, clean water, and a million other things we take for granted. Why do we presume they’d be any worse at health care than the insurance companies?

Do you love your insurance company? I doubt it. I think everyone has a story about how a claim was erroneous denied and it took weeks and multiple phone calls to straighten out. When I had my appendix out, someone at Aetna accidentally classified the appendectomy as elective surgery and out of network so that it looked like I owed several thousand dollars. A few hours on the phone fixed it, but, come on, that isn’t exactly a flawless system that the government couldn’t operate just as well.

Also, if you don’t want to pay for every one else’s health care through taxes, consider this. Your insurance premiums do that now. I’ve paid thousands of dollars in premiums and some years I only make one trip to a doctor’s office. The insurance companies never sent me a refund. They used that money to pay for someone else’s care. And what about all those uninsured Americans? Do we really have to pay for them too? Again, we already do. Uninsured people tend to use ER services as their main medical care. That is very expensive. When they can’t pay the bills, they often declare bankruptcy and the hospital doesn’t get paid. Hospitals can’t afford to do that unless they raise their rates for everyone else. Higher prices at hospitals mean higher insurance premiums. So, one way or another, those of us who can afford to pay carry the higher financial burden.

Sure, it’s not exactly fair. Maybe you worked your way out of the slums, got an education and a good job, and never took a hand out. I didn’t. I attended schools that were paid for by tax dollars, drive on roads paved by tax dollars, take my son to a city park every morning, and am kept safe by police, fire fighters, and military personnel paid through tax dollars. If you don’t like it, buy an island somewhere an have fun. But, if you’d like to stay in America and are one of the lucky few for whom the system has worked, you owe it to everyone else to pay back in. It’s not fair, it’s right.

So in summary:

  1. Government health care already exists.
  2. It works just the same as private insurance.
  3. The government is no worse at running things than private industry.
  4. We already pay for the care of others.
  5. We owe it to each other to make sure everyone has access to health care.

It’s time, America. Let’s do the right thing.

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2 responses to “Government Run Health Care Since 1956

  1. Nicely put.

    • I feel like our opportunity for universal health care is slipping away because people are so antigovernment. Look at the news, corporate American isn’t less corrupt or more efficient.

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