Riding a dead horse?

The Supreme Court refuses to axe the healthcare plan. An unexpected nuance from a Court that had heretofore followed a predictable partisan line devoid of independent thought. Wow!

While I’m not a legal expert, I’ve been baffled (and bewildered, befuddled and bemused) by the amount of hostile reaction the new healthcare plan has provoked. By essentially any measure, the previous American health care approach was, eh, in need of help. It provided, at best, mediocre service at exceptionally high cost. If the same thing happened in, say telephones, Americans would be limited to landline handsets that were the size (and weight) of bricks. (And using them would cost $4/minute.)

I live in Switzerland which has a health care plan that is essentially like the new American plan. (Everyone has to purchase health insurance and companies cannot discriminate based on age or pre-existing conditions.) My plan covers care in the USA, but as the insurance company explained: “In the USA, we can only pay twice as much for services as they would cost in Switzerland. Therefore, the coverage will not be sufficient.” In the twelve years I’ve lived in Switzerland, this is the only item that I’ve found to be cheaper here than in America. The
only item.

In the previous system, uninsured people receive no preventative care. When health issues arise, these people turn up at the emergency room - where they are treated. Everyone else, of course, pays for this treatment. As
Mitt Romney noted when he was running for President, this was not a good solution. (It is, of course, ridiculously easy to find old Romney statements that differ with new Romney positions.)

The manifest shortcomings of the old approach are evident to anyone who takes the opportunity to compare. The cost is high and the results are bad. I conclude that the disdain for the plan is based on ideology rather than facts. People see the approach as a step toward (gasp!) Marxism and, therefore, the beginning of the end for the free market, capitalist economic approach.

I don’t think that Switzerland (or Germany, the UK, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, etc.) are Marxist. I believe in the free market - a tempered free market. Unregulated and unfettered market economics does not always deliver positive results. Lake Erie, for example, caught on fire when I was in High School (I’m glad someone came up with environmental regulations.) Amazingly, some of the strongest proponents of capitalism, the financial services industry, have no problem accepting welfare in the form of government bailouts when the bonuses are at risk.

On a personal note, it is nice to know that when we repatriate to the USA, we will be able to get health insurance. Thank you Justice Roberts and President Obama. (Who would have thought that sentence would ever see print?)

I realize that this is a contentious subject. If you disagree feel free to let me know (dandotmartin@gmail.com). I am especially interested in hearing why the old USA system was better than the new USA system - based on analysis of value for money.
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