My husband grew up with socialized medicine. He misses it. Although he has excellent insurance through his employer and he has no issues with the quality of medical care he's received here in the states, he does have one huge problem with our market driven health care system.
Here it is: if he loses his job, we join the ranks of the uninsured. If one of us gets sick with something serious like diabetes or cancer or heart disease (we're both in our fifties, so that's entirely possible), he could lose everything he's worked so hard for all these years.
That doesn't happen in England.
According to a recent story in Reuters, more than 60 percent of bankruptcy cases are due to the inability to pay medical bills. That number is staggering, if you consider the fact that most of these people were contributing members of society, working hard, paying their taxes and building a life until a disastrous illness took it all away.
Medical care and medicine should not be subject to the same economic rules as automobiles and cereal. If you can't afford a box of Rice Krispies you buy the store brand. Or you have toast and peanut butter. Or you skip breakfast all together (although I don't recommend it). We can shop around for cereal, but who shops around for a cheap doctor? And there are generic drugs out there, but how are we to know if we really need this drug or our doctor was persuaded by the drug company rep to prescribe it even when the expensive brand is not needed?
Who's going to pay for this kind of system? We will, with higher taxes. Isn't it worth paying five or ten percent of your current income so you can keep your house if your wife is diagnosed with cancer two weeks after you're laid off from your job? And we're paying for medical care now. We pay for it in higher costs for hospitals that absorb the expense of caring for the indigent. We pay for it with higher insurance premiums. Rising healthcare costs was one of the issues that brought down GM.
If your employer doesn't have to shell out so much to the insurance company, he'll pay you more. Everyone wins.
Of course, I don't expect a single payer system to get past any of the "Fiscally Responsible" Republicans in Congress. (Trillions for defense, not one penny for socialized medicine). I'm resigned to the fact that whatever reforms they come up with will be everyone's third choice, hugely complicated and in the end, will make things worse.
That's what America is all about.