June 28, 2011 | Posted By David Lemberg, M.S., D.C.


Although the ranters rant that those without health care insurance should "get a job", investigating the facts tells a different story. But in early 21st century America, facts are easily swept aside as mere inconvenience.

Who needs facts when we have opinions? Blather, posturing, speciousness, and irresponsible inanities are the coin of our public discourse.

A few Americans do inquire as to the state of the facts. A substantial proportion of the 47+ million uninsured Americans are employed. And many millions more of those who do have health insurance have less than satisfactory coverage. Cost-shifting has burdened Americans with high annual deductibles and exorbitant co-payments.

A 35-year-old father of two develops a sudden, intense headache. His plan carries a $5000 annual deductible and he knows he can't afford the $1200 price tag of an MRI of his brain. Three days later he dies of a ruptured intracranial aneurysm. Similar scenarios occur weekly across the country.

In the UK, Canada, France, the Netherlands, and other developed nations there are no such things as underinsurance or lack of coverage. Health care is a right. The U.S. stands alone in its ignominy.

Universal health care is a simple policy solution. Of course, the implementation is complex, but it's not so complex that it can't get done. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. Any European nation's policies can provide a working blueprint. The will to solve the complexities of universal health care is what's required. At present in the U.S., irresponsibility rules the day.

We need a vision and a mission that are accepted by the majority of citizens and congressional elected officials. One vision states "every person will have timely and affordable access to needed health care services". This should not be astonishing, but in America we couldn't be further from this simple vision.

The costs of our delusions are extensive, formidable, and insidious. Each of us pays a steep penalty for indulgence of our current non-system of non-care. The direct costs are fairly obvious. The indirect costs are even more detrimental to our national welfare and well-being. The purpose of our American government is to provide opportunity to all citizens, to provide the circumstances by which each can flourish and prosper.

Those without health care are at a serious disadvantage in the game of life. At present America is failing miserably.

The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers graduate online masters in bioethics programs. For more information on the AMBI master of bioethics online program, please visit the AMBI site.

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BIOETHICS TODAY is the blog of the Alden March Bioethics Institute, presenting topical and timely commentary on issues, trends, and breaking news in the broad arena of bioethics. BIOETHICS TODAY presents interviews, opinion pieces, and ongoing articles on health care policy, end-of-life decision making, emerging issues in genetics and genomics, procreative liberty and reproductive health, ethics in clinical trials, medicine and the media, distributive justice and health care delivery in developing nations, and the intersection of environmental conservation and bioethics.