Tuesday, February 15, 2005

So-called "health care"

Scott began an interesting discussion on our local unschooling list about the relationship between capitalism and school, and it led to a question about socialist health care. I responded, and then realized I may as well post it here, too!

Partial post I responded to:
"While I have always admired some of the socialist programs such as health care offered in Canada and some European countries I personally don't want to give up my PPO. However if we were all willing to subscribe to national healthcare then some of us may not get as good of care but the general populace would. So then what?"

My reply:
I believe true choice is only an illusion in our
current health care system. Most Americans neither
qualify for public programs nor can they afford a PPO
plan -- so they're stuck with the limited choices of
an HMO, or nothing at all. Those with no insurance,
or insurance that won't cover all their medical needs,
are then charged far more as individuals than
insurance companies would pay for the same services,
sending many Americans into permanent debt just to
stay alive.

There is no limit set on how much the
industry can charge for so-called "care" -- or on the
kind of debt collection practices they can use against
those patients whose refusal of treatment would equal
death. The stories I've read are literally sickening
-- but the situation is only one example of how a
belief in unlimited growth and greed (Reagan
economics) has left the majority without basic needs
covered. Personally, after our mortgage refi goes
through, our monthly health insurance costs will be
higher than our mortgage payment -- for a basic PPO
plan for healthy people. And yet, if I got pregnant
again and wanted midwife care and a homebirth, none of
that cost is covered by our insurance. (Why this is so
is complicated, but also comes down to the effects of
capitalistic greed.)

I don't have the perfect solution, and I cringe at the
thought of government dictating my health care
choices, but I also believe that evidence-based health
care will not be fully achieved until for-profit
insurance companies are no longer calling the shots --
until *the structure of the system* values life and
health more highly than the bottom line. That seems
impossible now, but only because we've been taught
that there are only two solutions to any one problem
-- and that the United States of America has already
chosen the better one.

One of our goals as unschooling parents is to ensure
that our children don't learn that lie -- that their
minds remain open to and become skilled at creative,
informed problem-solving. Because the future is only
bright for those who can imagine it being better.

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