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The question of health insurance

Giles Blunden

The basic question boils down to this: Should Americans of all means be entitled to a quality level of health care as a standard everyday practice? I think most Americans would answer yes.

Right now, this does not exist. There is not a level playing field and certainly not a consistent level of service for everyone. Sen. Burr has no problem affording commercial health insurance and is naive to propose that commercial companies left to their own devices are going to solve the problem of providing a good standard of health care to all Americans. That standard is simply not possible using only commercial insurers and recent history confirms it, or we would not be in this dilemma.

Corporate insurance companies cannot solve the problem of providing universal care. Under the current competitive model, those who can pay for insurance have it and those who can’t go without. Under that same system, those who are less well pay more and are less able to do so. If you get sick, your insurance goes up when you can least afford it. As you age, your insurance goes up but your income declines. These are fine business practices if your goal is to maximize shareholder dividends and consequently raise your own salary as a CEO.

There needs to be a flat rate for quality insurance for every class of American: the old, the sick, the young and the healthy. That basic level of health-care coverage needs to be available to everyone, no exceptions. It would be nice to think that the large health insurance corporation could do this, but they can’t. It is simply not a competitive business.

Just like public roads and highways, there needs to be universal access. Those who want a higher level of service can take the toll roads.

I just signed on at considerable cost to bail out a bunch of greedy banks and insurance companies because they are “necessary.”
They were playing a highly competitive unregulated game with other people’s money and we pay when they lose. That’s small
government for you. I would far prefer larger government, and spend my tax dollars on universal health insurance for all, than pay some big corporation to look after my interests at the expense of their shareholders’ interests. The government may not be perfect, but at least I have a voice.

My family has lived with cancer for 25 years, and I feel that I am in a position to understand this issue. Yes, it’s great to be a survivor; but to constantly struggle with how to maintain insurance when you are not well is not acceptable. To have to choose work solely by what insurance is offered is not acceptable. We are lucky because we have the earning power of two college degrees and have marketable skills. What about the millions out there who are not as lucky or have lost their jobs due to the hands-off approach of “small government”?

Giles Blunden is an architect who lives in Carrboro.

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