A doctor (MD) was aghast at poor persons coming to the ER, where she worked,, to obtain acetaminophen (Tylenol®) for a headache. She thought this was an abuse of our healthcare system. As I listened, last night, to yesterday's arguments before the United States Supreme Court, I remembered her rant about people who had no choice, except the ER, to buy the medicine because they were poor.
People are poor in this society. The poor are kept poor. The areas in which many of the poor live have educational systems whose financing is based on the property tax. When property values are low, taxes become high to provide services equal to those of wealthier communities. The equality of opportunity for children becomes farce. Besides that, property tax reform has placed limits on what little there was for the poorer area of our country. Without a quality education—free from religious indoctrination (creationism is not science and evolution is real)—the children of the poor do not have equal opportunity. The future, for them, becomes one of unemployment or employment in low-paying jobs.
We could turn to the State ( as in one of the 50), but monies have dried up there. Budget knives are wielded to cut unnecessary expenditures. What is unnecessary to one person might be quite necessary to another. In times of budgetary disarray at the state level, education is one of the first items to feel the blade. Afterward, monies are not restored.
If everyone is guaranteed free education as far as that person can go, the government should provide tuition-free means of achieving that education. We should cut a significant portion of the defense budget and invest it in the infrastructure that is education.
What does what I wrote in the preceding paragraphs have to do with the debate over the debate before the Supreme Court? If we have people who are better-educated, our economy will improve. Those poor people seeking Tylenol® would be able to buy it at the store and be spared the hour trip over, wait, and trip back for the ER-distributed pills as well as the indignation of the doctor. People also will be better-informed about how to be healthy. They will be able to afford better foods.
The real answer to the health care crisis is to eliminate private health insurance companies and their executives who receive eight-figure bonuses for managing corporations free from anti-trust laws. Why reward a person for gouging profits from people via monopoly? The monopoly aspect removes any worry about competition. While Congressional debates raged, a couple of years ago, on health care reform, single-payer was left out. That is the only feasible plan.
In 1994, Republicans in Congress pushed, as medical reform, the same law they now decry and demand the Supreme Court overturn as unconstitutional. Newt Gingrich wanted government-mandated health insurance. Yesterday’s questions from the so-called conservative justices were depressing, not because they were adverse to my views, but because they were so ill-informed.
There are things that the Federal government can do to improve our lives. Provision of health care to those over 65 has worked quite well since its adoption as Medicare in 1965. Medicare should be extended for all. At the same time, we should take money from the military and invest it in the infrastructure of our country—education, highways, railroads, bridges. Those expenditures, in the long-run, will be far more cost-effective than maintenance of a war machine. Restore income tax rates to their levels during the Clinton years, gut the bush tax cuts, and we might get back to a decent economy.
And those poor people at the ER? Maybe they will read about possible negative health consequences of use of acetaminophen and buy aspirin or ibuprophen. Then those ER docs will not be so annoyed and can go back to figuring the hedge funds in which they want to lose money.