With the health care crisis in America escalating, many more people may someday have to face the hard choice of whether to eat or buy prescription medication.
Already, 44 million Americans are without health insurance. On top of that, an ABC News poll found that six out of 10 Americans with health insurance are concerned they will not be able to afford to keep it in the near future, and for good reason.
Despite the average corporation reporting a 17 percent higher profit margin in October, more than half of them have been attempting to cut their health care plans because of the state of the economy.
In addition, the idea has been tossed around in Congress to force Medicare to compete with private health insurance plans.
We seem closer to being left out in the cold every day.
A recent poll showed two thirds of Americans prefer a universal health care system to the current one. It is sad to think of the $87 billion recently authorized by Congress to be spent on the Iraq fiasco would have been more than enough to fund a national health care system.
In the classic choice of guns and butter, America’s politicians have been spending far too much on guns and far too little on butter.
This is yet one more issue where the United States finds itself lagging behind many of the world’s other industrialized countries. As in so many other cases, we could learn a lot from our northern neighbor, Canada.
No one should be denied access to sufficient medical care in a country as rich as the United States. The disparities between treatment options available to those with good insurance and those who do not are staggering.
Racial disparities are also common. For example, in 1998, the black infant mortality rate was almost triple that of Caucasians.
The Supreme Court ruled over a year ago that prisoners have a Constitutional right to health care. If that is true, why can’t law-abiding citizens have the same rights? The Court’s ruling should have prompted Congressional legislation offering this fundamental human right to anyone who needs it.
According to Missouri Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R), “The high cost of prescription drugs ends up being just as harmful as the diseases people are fighting.” If even Republicans are taking this kind of stance, the problem must be extremely dire.
The policy preference of the American people is clear, and their desperation is beginning to show. As Warren Beatty prophetically rapped in the in the movie Bullworth, “only socialized medicine will ever save the day.”
Kyle Wind can be reached at Kwind@temple.edu.
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