Fortunately, I was at work today and missed much of the bruhaha about the Supreme Court’s decision to entirely uphold the Health Insurance Corporation Enrichment Act(aka Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare aka Romneycare), and to strike down one of the few incrementally progressive things about it, which was mandatory Medicaid expansion. I heard enough on the way home on NPR, once I got home on the CBS Evening News, and read enough right here on FDL in the last few minutes.
The debate over “health care reform” is not even about health care itself. It’s over health care insurance. That’s a completely different thing. The key question is this: Is health care a fundamental human right in the biggest and wealthiest country that humanity has ever produced or not? For me, the answer is a simple YES. Period.
There are plenty who disagree with me and say so. But if you think health care is a right, as I do, then you must recognize that this whole debate over Obamacare completely avoids my question. Obamacare’s not about providing truly affordable and quality health care to all Americans, it’s about requiring all Americans to either be poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, which is woefully underfunded, purchase private for-profit health insurance(which still has no cost controls), or pay a fine(or a tax, as SCOTUS put it), to the federal government. So, as others have pointed out(hat-tip to Obey), if you’re too “rich” for Medicaid but too poor to buy private health insurance you get fined by the IRS.
How is any of that health care? It’s not. And how did we get to this screwed up situation in the first place? Well, there’s a simple answer: Capitalism.
Capitalism is all about making a profit. That’s it. Health care is all about treating sick and/or injured people and maintaining people’s health. That’s it. You can’t have both, not for everyone. Not even for most people, and as far as I am concerned even if the system worked for most people that’s still not good enough because quality health care is a right. America has tried to do so and has failed miserably.
You want health care for everyone? Then HAVE health care for everyone. There are several different ways to do it, but not one is capitalist. Not one. You have to ditch the profit motive to have truly universal health care. And you won’t hear that in our corporate media or from our corporate politicians.