Why Healthcare Reform Will Move . . This Time

Don’t confuse as social commentary the fundamental factor driving healthcare reform this time around, that as an advanced society we’re already paying the costs associated with the 40-50M Americans that are currently uninsured.

What? No left-leaning social ‘do-gooder’ rhetoric?  No, ‘leave the free market alone’ complaint?  Nope, it’s a simple fact.  Both perspectives have failed.

Again, this isn’t social commentary for the sake of social commentary.  We, as a whole, don’t particularly care to insure the uninsured out of a high standard of social justice (or that it’s generally perceived as the ‘right thing to do’) . . or we would have done it already.  And the ‘free market’ argument?  Bupkis.  We’ve gone from 20M to 30M to 40M to (nearly) 50M uninsured over the past how many years . . and decades?  That’s tremendous market growth (if you were to look at the uninsured as a market), and if the free market cared at all, meaning ’saw any profit in it’, there would have been a solution long, long ago that kept bringing people from ‘uninsured’ status back to ‘insured’.  The fact of the matter is the uninsured are treated as a cost, one that Americans aren’t particularly inspired to cover and one the free market doesn’t see any profit in.

So why is healthcare reform going to happen this time around?  Simply put, everyone has a story.  Whether it’s a mother or father, brother or sister, child, grandparent . . it doesn’t matter — Everyone either has or knows of a story too close to home.  It’s pill-splitting, it’s deferred care (and increased expense down the road), and it’s people dying for coverage days or weeks before they’re finally approved.  That’s the micro-momentum . . . little stories sprinkled across America.

The macro-momentum is that — boiled up — all that micro-momentum has the effect of having convinced nearly everyone that a) the system is broken (or nearly broken) and b) that all these ‘off the books’ expenses aren’t so off-the-books.

The impact on the uninsured is driving 2/3 of bankruptcy.  It’s fundamentally hitting people the hardest that most need coverage.  These costs aren’t hidden — In fact, they’re already incurred.  Sick people don’t just wander off, disappearing into the woods never to be seen or heard of again.  They, whether by their choice or the stranger standing next to them when they collapse in the street, are treated.  That’s cost.  And that’s cost we as an advanced society are already paying to cover, if just in the crude form our current system allows.

When it comes time for Congress to reconvene in September it is unclear exactly how healthcare reform will proceed, but proceed it will.

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