Thursday, August 11, 2005

Health Care as a utility?

Everyone want's good health care, but no one really wants to pay for it. Ok, some are willing to pay for theirs, but no one elses.

My observations lead me to believe that this was the same situation we faced at the turn of the century regarding such modern staples as roads, electricity, natural gas and telephones.

Much like electricity, people view health care as unnecessary... until you need it.
Those that deny their need of health care simply haven't gotten older yet. Just like electricity, health care brings benefits not just to individuals but to society as a whole.

Sure, there are obvious ways that people could "cheat" a health utility. Smokers would drive up costs unreasonably for everyone. So why not treat smokers, alcoholics, drug-abusers, etc. just like we do people who use too much water: charge them a premium.

I'm not advocating that participation in the health-care utility would be mandatory. Far from it. If someone chooses to live "off the grid" so be it. But there should be a system that rewards people for staying in the system during good times and bad and not simply joining when they get sick.

Granted it is difficult to codify and regulate the application of health care. But it can't be impossible. A private health care system, mated with a public regulatory body modeled on our current regulation of monopolies should be able to make health care a utility available to more, if not all.

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