Saturday, June 30, 2007

Why isn't health care compulsory?

[Welcome Junk Food Science and Industry Radar readers!]

I say it’s time for Congress to face up to Americans’ needs, and make health care compulsory.

I’m not talking about health insurance. I’m talking about health care. Health insurance is not the same as health care. Who calls their insurance agent when sick or injured? Who calls an actuary? Don’t real people call their doctor or go to the emergency room? Yet our so-called leaders go on and on about compulsory insurance as though insurance is what we need even though it’s obvious that health care is what we need. The public is being sold insurance when we should be buying health care. If anything needs to be made compulsory, it is health care – not health insurance.

Once this concept is understood, it's clear what must be done. First, all health care professionals become employees of the Federal Government, paid a living wage from public funds. Second, hospitals, clinics, labs and other facilities are nationalized and their staffs also become employees of the Federal Government. Fair compensation is paid to the former owners just as for the condemnation of any other private property for public use. Third, the Federal health care professionals examine any person who wants health care, and issue health care orders to anyone who is determined to actually need health care. Fourth, it is illegal to seek or receive health care from anyone except a Federal health care professional. Fifth, everyone in the country is included in the plan; however the full cost (plus an administration fee) for non-legal aliens' health care is charged back to their home country via the home country’s foreign exchange account maintained at the U.S. Treasury. Finally a system of regional Federal Health Tribunals will be established.

The Federal Health Tribunals are empowered to impose heavy fines upon individuals who shirk their civic duty to follow health care orders, including refusal to alter lifestyle when so ordered (e.g., exercise, stop smoking, lose weight). The Tribunals also have authority to order health shirkers confined until treated. Depending on the seriousness of the condition, the confinement may be in a hospital or if hospitalization is not required, to (a) the Governors’ mansion, (b) the home of any elected State or local official, (c) any residence maintained by a member of Congress, or (d) any private home larger than 3,000 square feet.

The Tribunals also have the power to order a provider who refuses to deliver care that is ordered by a regional Federal Health professional, to perform unpaid community service within the Tribunal’s region.

Refusal by a health shirker or a health care provider to comply with an order of a Health Tribunal will carry penalties similar to contempt of Court and may involve fines or imprisonment or both.

Making health care compulsory would address actual need. Public funds to pay for compulsory health insurance would not be wasted on “insurance” but would be spent directly for health care. Everyone would then be healthy, happy, and handsome, and all our children would be smarter than average. Overnight, our life expectancy would be the highest in the world and infant mortality would drop to zero.

I call on Congress to enact this plan now.
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