水曜日, 9月 29, 2004

NOBODY should have to pay medical bills AT ALL. There's simply no reason for it. I'm serious here. Capitalism destroys people's lives, especially when it's applied to health care. And ultimately people are left without dignity.

In reply to Jostein's comment here (I didn't want to bicker in Jaquandor's post about his son):

If nobody pays medical bills, we will all pay for them in the form of taxes. Sure, you can then change the tax code so, to exaggerate, the top 10% of income-earners pay 90% of all taxes. Except rich people have an easier time moving to other countries. Except no proper bureaucrat would ignore such a large, unexploited tax base as 90% of the population. Unless you are really at the bottom of the economic ladder, you will still end up paying for yours or someone else's medical care.

Perhaps Jostein means that health care should be provided free of charge to both patient and taxpayer. I don't know how this would work. A lot, if not most, of my friends are premeds; many of them do feel a need to help people. However, I dare to say that most would not go through the sheer torture of med school if it weren't for the money and prestige.* If medical professions do not command a high salary, you just aren't going to get the cream of the crop as doctors. I might be willing to settle for a physician of middling quality, but would a parent wish that for her child?

Even if top doctors would work for free, the equipment itself costs a lot of money. I'm just a college kid playing researcher on afternoons, but a buffer I use costs $55 for 2 mL. When you're measure things in microliters, 2 mL can go quite a long way--but not if you're running a lab with eight full-time researchers. Unless you're going to make medical equipment and supplies for free (and how can that work?), medical care will cost money.

Health care is not a right, and it is not free. You can make it a "right"--you can impose price controls, wage controls, require insurance, heck, nationalize the entire thing. But you won't be getting the best doctors, the best new medicine, the best treatments, and those who can afford will go to where they can. Those who can't will be screwed.

*I base this opinion on the fact that they don't spend much of their free time volunteering to physically help people. Working at a hospital lab or raising money via grant applications are wonderful activities, but neither demonstrates a burning desire to comfort an actual sick person.

Update: Rereading the post, I fully realize how incoherent and unsubstantiated my arguments are. Well, the "Health Care in America" course is slated for next semester. I'll get back to you then.