For all the liberals decry our healthcare system, as much as they complain that we're the only industrialized nation without Universal Healthcare, I have good news: we HAVE Universal Healthcare.
Wait, what's that? What are you talking about? No we don't!
Yes, we do. There is already a government-run healthcare plan in this country. Let me explain.
On Thursday, Alan texted me that he needed help. He was horribly sick, he'd been throwing up all day, he couldn't keep food down, his stomach was in terrible pain. I rushed home and told him that I was taking him to the emergency room. We took a taxi to our local hospital's E.R., and after seeing him briefly they admitted him. They ran several tests but everyone had the same basic guess what the outcome would be. And they were right - appendicitis. Fortunately, his appendix hadn't ruptured, so it was a pretty simple lathroscopic surgery. We spent the night, and then one more night, while they observed and he healed from the wound.
Now, add it up. E.R. visit, tests, CAT Scan for the appendicitis, anesthesia, surgery, more tests, a two-day hospital visit, lots of hospital food, lots more tests. How much do you think that cost him? Answer: nothing. It didn't cost him a dime. Why? Because he has no health insurance, but also because he has no job. He's freelance consulting right now, and what little money he gets is instantly eaten away. And when I explained that to hospital billing, they smiled and said "Oh, ok, no problem. We'll just bill Medicaid." That's right, remember Medicaid? The government program for medical funding of people with no or limited resources? They're paying Alan's hospital bill in full.
And that's the thing: no hospital in this country will refuse a seriously sick patient, whether they can pay or not. And when they can't pay, the hospital requests and receives a reimbursement from Medicaid. And that means YOU'RE paying for Alan's appendectomy, and the thousands of other surgeries and complicated procedures that hospitals perform every week on patients who can't afford them.
So, Libertarians, it's time to stop thinking of this as a battle against Universal Healthcare. It's time to stop complaining about the horrors of Socialized Medicine and how it'll f*ck everything up. You lost that battle in 400 BC when the Hippocratic Oath was written, and you have been paying for poor people to get medical treatment ever since. You need to start thinking about this as a battle to make Universal Healthcare cost you less in taxes. The question you need to ask is this: would you rather pay $40,000 for Alan's hospital weekend because he has absolutely no coverage; or would you rather pay $10,000 because while he WAS working he, and you, were paying into a more concrete Universal Healthcare system that ultimately drove down those costs for everyone involved?