The Blue Dog Argument of Health Care In 1934, Huey Long, a Senator, proposed giving every American household
five thousand dollars as a way to redistribute the wealth during the Great Depression. However, he failed consider that such a plan would have bankrupted the United States. We are now faced with a similar proposition: the proposition of universal health care. Similar to the plan of Huey Long, there are several flaws in a proposal aimed to help a mass multitude of Americans, few of which I am here to present to you today. Under our current economic and political system, a system of universal health care is simply not feasible and such a system would fiscally destroy the country. People are under the impression that a universal health care system is one that is free. This is a common misconception. The only institution that can offer such a program for 300 million people is the government, but that institution runs off of our taxes. Our government is running at an extremely high yearly deficit of over a trillion dollars and funding a new system would require even more money: money that it does not have. To establish universal health care would require a punishing rise in taxes. This will burden a majority of families, because 95% of the population holds less wealth than the top 1% and it is easier to create a tax code that targets the majority. (Citigroup 2005) As a result, middle class families will have a harder time paying for their own health care premiums. People who already hold off on purchasing health insurance will refuse any kind of adequate medical treatment out of fear of debt. The financial burden of a health care system, regardless of individual opinion, would be bourne by us all. Even our current government sponsored health care programs, Medicare, which provides coverage to older Americans, and Medicaid, which provides coverage to those who cannot afford private insurance, have long since been running in the red. In their 2009 annual report, Medicare reports that their expenditures consume 16% of the GDP, or 2.2 trillion dollars. However, the same report predicts that Medicare will be bankrupt by 2017. These numbers become scathing once you realize that America ranks 37th in the world in terms of quality of health care (WHO 2010) and it becomes more insulting once consider that the United States spends more money than any other country towards health care. The opposition may say that despite the inadequacy, other countries have successfully adopted universal health care and have made it work. They may also ask why the United States stands as the only
industrialized country without it. The reason is simply rooted in ideology. For example, Hillary Clinton, with support of the president, attempted in 1993 to establish a government run universal health care system. However, she failed to consider the opposing pharmesudical and health care insurance companies. After one year and a hundred million dollars, these corporations successfully shot down her system. (The Great Health Care Debate of 1993-94) The ideology here is that corporate interests take precedent over public good and interest.. Even though Hilary’s program was for the common good, her system posed as a threat to the private sector’s business and in the end, their greed won over. These corporations are so stubborn about barring any kind of legislation that there are now four times as many health care lobbyists in Congress as there are Congressmen and women. According to the Washington Post, these lobbyists spend more money than any other special interest group, spending about 126 million overall every quarter. This forces the government’s health care to compete against a very influential private sector that can control the very heart of government health care by influencing laws and policies with so-called lobbying. Consequently, the private sector would drive a government run system that threatened their business interests into the ground as they did with Hillary’s universal health care attempt. What our country should focus on is decreasing the cost of health care in both the private and public sector. Over the last 8 years, health care costs have multiplied nearly four times their previous amount. (Obama and Biden Health Care Plan 1) Congress could subsidize companies or impose laws on the private sector to stop rates from rising. This would cost a fraction of what 2.2 trillion Medicare currently costs. This price cap would allow people to obtain health care without the fear of rising and changing premiums that health care corporations often impose of their clients. It is greed, not need, that drives insurance prices up to insane levels that we even have to discuss the notion of universal health care. Should a universal health care bill be forced through Congress, the country would become bankrupt. Middle class families would be burdened heavily with more taxes, the government provided system would fiscally collapse, and no matter how much money the government could pump into the
system, it would simply go to waste. Unemployment and the homeless population would skyrocket because people would not be able to afford health care, much less their housing loans. While universal health care has a nice ring, it fails to consider what the real problems are and why. It is not a sensible solution and should not be adopted.