The Therapy Sessions
Friday, October 08, 2004
Health mess starts with the voters
In 2003, 45 million Americans lacked health insurance, and medical spending spiraled furiously upward. Since 2000 private insurance premiums have increased 59 percent, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation. Both George Bush and John Kerry say they'll 'fix' the health care system, but their campaign proposals suggest that neither is serious.
To be serious would require admitting that the basic problem does not lie with insurance companies, trial lawyers, hospitals or any of the usual suspects. It lies with public opinion. We Americans want the impossible. We want our health care system to provide everyone with good care covered by comprehensive insurance, prevent insurance companies or government bureaucrats from dictating our choice of doctors, hospitals or treatments, and hold down costs. Well, we can have any two of these goals -- but not all three. If everyone has coverage and choice, costs will skyrocket. No one is empowered to control them. But controlling costs involves limits on insurance or choice.