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Home Health Care Does the U.S. want to be in the health care business?

Does the U.S. want to be in the health care business?

The Town Talk

Published 11:15 p.m. CT Aug. 20, 2017


Vice President Mike Pence says Republicans will keep fighting to repeal and replace Obamacare during his speech at the Tennessee Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner held on Thursday in Nashville, Tenn.
Ayrika Whitney/USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

Health care in the United States is a mess.

That statement might be the only thing we can agree on in this country. The rest of the discussion … well, that’s not as simple.

Earlier this year, the Senate voted to open debate on health care reform but stopped short of backing the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, the nickname of the Affordable Care Act passed and signed into law in 2010. They also declined to back a “clean repeal” of that law.

Even the most ardent defenders of Obamacare will tell you it has serious problems. But they’d also argue for a fix, rather than a repeal, of the law they say so many people get life-saving coverage.

There are a few fundamental questions that guide the discussion on health care reform and they boil down to this: Do you believe health care is a right or an entitlement?

The Constitution’s preamble, for example, says its purpose is to “promote the general welfare” of Americans. If you feel health care is a right, you’ll likely point to that phrase as an indication that health care is a right. But those who believe it’s not a right, say the key part of that phrase is “promote,” which doesn’t mean provide health care.

If you feel it’s a right, you likely support a single-payer system or an entitlement, which supporters believe will lower individuals health care costs, save lives, and improve public health.

On the other hand, those opposed to a right to health care think the ability to choose is essential in health care. Opponents point to areas of the world with long wait times to see doctors, rationing of medical services and high taxes.

Ultimately, what this all boils down to is a question: Does the U.S. want to be a country that provides health care for everyone?

It’s a question that plagued the U.S. for decades, but was revived in the wake of President Bill Clinton’s discussion of it in 1993 and has been at the forefront of our population since Obamacare’s inception. There are polls that show that a rising number of people believe the government should provide health care, but the true answer is very complicated and one that only a bipartisan solution may be able to deliver.

Let that discussion begin — again.

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