If healthcare were like mail, we’d all be a lot happier

HUMAN 1:
Can you rationally explain why people not having health insurance is actually bad from an economic standpoint?
Healthy people take less time off from work. This is part of why eradicating communicable diseases like polio, malaria, measles, etc., from the United States and other developed nations was so important. People who aren’t getting sick from dirty water or infection are people who are better able to consistently engage in economic activity. If you have a business where you aren’t sure when or how much of your labor force will be able to show up, that uncertainty is going to affect your bottom line.

Additionally, people who are able to take care of their sicknesses and injuries immediately or when noticed early make it much cheaper to treat overall because many conditions become more complicated and expensive to cure as they progress. If you catch cancer in the beginning stages, not only is the prognosis better, you also don’t need to spend anywhere near the amount of resources to cure it compared with a cancer that’s only caught after it’s metastasized and its symptoms are more obvious.

Because it’s less expensive to treat, many fewer people will have to declare bankruptcy when they choose to save the lives of themselves and their loved ones. As of 2009, 62 percent of all bankruptcies were medical-related. Obamacare didn’t solve that problem or perhaps go far enough, but people who have to close their business or pay off medical debt aren’t spending money to invest in their community or grow its economy. Some people do become wealthier, like breaking windows benefits the glass repair company, but overall, society does not become wealthier.

Finally, children who suffer from preventable and treatable illnesses won’t be as productive economically as they grow older, and adults who are injured or die from something treatable are wasting the investment of education and experience already put into them. Even viewing people completely cynically and without moral compassion, you’re squandering resources by allowing economic engines to break and disregarding their entire future productive capability unless they have the wealth immediately to repair themselves.

More fundamentally and in the long term, by tying health-care access to wealth, it deepens the divide between rich and poor, lowers overall economic productivity, and weakens the social contract.

If poor people believe they live in a society where they’re unable to feed, clothe, and provide lifesaving care to their children, they aren’t going to be very invested in that society or trust in its authority. So you would also expect crime, drug use, and general social turmoil to rise.

Continue reading If healthcare were like mail, we’d all be a lot happier

Romans 13:1 is terribly difficult teaching to accept

The other day, I got into my head that this week, I’d write a column about the new federal health care guidelines that would require employers to cover birth control without any extra fees as part of plans.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had a problem with this and said it was an infringement of their religious freedoms, and then it became a great big huge national issue you’ve probably heard at least a little something about.

Continue reading Romans 13:1 is terribly difficult teaching to accept