What appears to be a group of trees over a hill in the great distance is just a few trees on the other side of a mound--not so substantial after all. Even less substantial is the so-called health insurance that most Americans have, which led to this week's detailed lament on The Baseline Scenario site, You Do Not Have Health Insurance. That's right, unless you're over 65, you do not have health insurance, for any number of reasons, based on the fact that it's employer based and the health insurance market is not regulated enough. The money quote, ..."you can't count on your health insurer being there when you need it."
Michael Hiltzik's recent article in the LA Times, What's so great about private health insurance?" and Matt Miller's op-ed in the Financial Times (!!!), America's healthcare should no longer be tied to jobs," (based on the models of Holland and Switzerland) are additional wake-up calls regarding the state of health care in America; anytime a major financial publication, which are not known for their liberal ideas, is in favor of universal healthcare, it's time for even Republicans to get the memo (or e-mail).
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The truth is that there's been a limited form of universal healthcare in the U.S. for decades, and it's been a raging success. (I'm not speaking of Medicare, thought that has also been a success, for the most part.) It's rare to hear of an American child falling ill to any of the former "childhood diseases," because almost all American children are inoculated against them. That's because regardless of family income, vaccinations are available and are in fact mandatory before entering public school. Thus, while there are regrettably other forms of infant and childhood death and illness that occur (often because of a lack of prenatal care), the diseases that formerly ravaged children (measles, rubella, mumps) before the age of five are no longer a scourge, because we, as a society, decided that everyone was to be protected from these diseases, and expense was to be no object in providing such protection.