Dr. Ben Danielson, senior medical director at a Seattle children’s clinic, commented on the current health care bill before the Senate:
“I have to start off by, I guess, congratulating all the millionaires on the incredible gift they are about to get. I always wondered what you get for the person who has everything, and now I know; it’s cutting benefits to young children, poor families, the infirm, the elderly.”(Quoted by Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, “Doctor Calls GOP’s Bluff on Health Bill,” June 25, 2017.)
The sarcasm of the obviously frustrated doctor aside, what might a truly praiseworthy health care bill look like?
First of all, it would provide preventive based health care for every American. The goal is health care that encourages healthy lives, not just paying medical bills when we are sick.
Compare it to preventive maintenance on our cars. People who care about their vehicles don’t wait to change the oil after it’s become so dirty that it begins to damage the engine. We change oil at set times and perform other maintenance checks as well: brakes, tires, and so on.
Preventive health care requires care for the healthy at least as much as for the sick. It works best when it begins early and lasts throughout life. Requiring all to buy health insurance that pays for regular checkups saves money in the long run.
Today, the money we spend on health insurance for the elderly is more expensive because we didn’t begin it an earlier age.
Starting healthcare at the beginning of a life has the potential to lessen drug abuse, not to mention obesity and other health challenges.
Prevention is so much less expensive than emergency room management.