It strikes me as odd how intelligent people on both sides of an argument auger themselves so deeply into an issue that, well, they cannot see the forest for the trees.
Measure 101 is a classic case. It does not even matter whether you are for or against it; what should matter is understanding that 101 is just using old baling twine to fix a badly broken cart.
Dr. Hayden, a leading opponent to 101, in his Oregonian editorial pointed out that it is not a matter of whether we should pay to hold Oregon’s Medicaid system together, but how to pay. He touches on the very root of the problem, maybe without knowing it. We have far and away the most expensive health care in the world with abysmal health outcomes for the money.
Many proponents of 101 are willing to throw whatever it costs to attempt to cobble together the failed health care system in our country. That is noble, but in the end it is futile. Our system cannot hold up much longer under these inefficient patches that fail to address the real problems both within the healthcare system and the outside forces that have driven it to this breaking point.
An editorial in the East Oregonian called 101 a Band-Aid. Actually, it is a small Band-Aid being applied to the very large, soaked bandage: the Affordable Care Act. It is a failed attempt to staunch the hemorrhage of money we spend on health care. Both President Obama and (retired) Senator Baucus, the author of Obamacare, said that the two primary goals were to reduce the exorbitant costs of health care in this country and to provide access for all citizens to quality health care. It has failed at both. Insurance is not health care.
This is why we are arguing over Measure 101. If we, the people, do not hold the feet of our elected ones to the fire to honestly address health care in our country, we will face many more 101s in the future. I’m not talking about the “anti-fix” Representative Walden and the elitist Republicans in D.C. proposed, nor the hollow words of so many Democrats, including Senator Merkley who also puts politics ahead of the people of our country.
Measure 101 is proof that we need to look at, for example, the 34 other countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, all of which have health care systems that: a) cost less than our country, b) provide health care to ALL their citizens, and c) have far better health outcomes than our country. All these countries, like our country, are “committed to democracy and the market economy.”
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the vast majority of universal health care systems around the globe work far better than our very expensive and very broken system. Our system — driven by corporate insurance as well as profit-based Big Med and Pharma — is probably the epitome of a failure of the free market system. It would take a column this size just to outline the massive administrative inefficiencies and redundancies within our healthcare system that drive costs way up before you or I can even see our doctor.
It’s time our country implements a “Medicare For All” type system for all our citizens, which will achieve the goals of bringing costs down and improving health outcomes.