Most people agree that some form of health care reform is needed, myself included. After that, ideas diverge and agreements cease.
One aspect of the proposed reform is the requirement for every person to carry health insurance which would effect two groups, the ones who don't want it and the ones who can't afford it. Those who don't want it would have to deal with getting fined if they still refuse. For the group who can't afford it there is the so called "public option".
The public option would allow the government to provide a cheaper alternative to private companies. Of course, that would eventually lead to the end of private companies because there is no way they could compete with the government. Something about needing to make a profit while the government can run a program at deficit indefinitely. I get confused with all the complicated concepts but I think that's how it goes.
Another idea Obama is pushing is coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. That sounds great, on the surface. One question: What keeps a person from going without insurance until he gets sick or injured and then going to an insurance company and demanding coverage? Sure, he'd have to pay the fines for not carrying insurance but the money he would save in premiums would more than make up for it. That would cost the insurance companies huge amounts of money, which would be pushed on to the other consumers. Unless, of course, the public option passes. Then everyone could get the government provided insurance at a much cheaper rate, which would lead to yes, you guessed it, a single payer system (i.e. Uncle Sam).
Lots of people compare our system to those of Europe and ask why we can't be more like them. Well, I'm not an expert on European health care but I do know they pay very high taxes to support their systems. One of the differences I see between US and European systems is the number of citizens.The US has about four times as many citizens as the most populated country in Europe (Germany at 80 million), excluding Russia (they have about half our population). Most countries have populations of a few million. So, the tax revenue required for a system of this scale in the US is just plain scary.
Not to worry though right? Obama plans to pay for it by cutting out waste, fraud, and abuse in the current health care system among other means.
What do I propose you may be asking? Well, for one, if cutting fraud and waste is so easy, why not make it happen before trying to completely change our system? Why not allow insurance companies to compete across state lines? Why not reform tort law to stop frivolous lawsuits? I'm not trying to stick up for the insurance companies, they should be reigned in too, but why not try some other means before gutting our existing system?
There's no such thing as "free" health care.
Let the debate begin.