No, I’m not a health policy analyst. Neither is the average American. But neither are we stupid. That’s why I resent op-ed columns like the one in the Wall Street Journal that read like this:
“Here’s something that has gotten lost in the drive to institute universal health insurance: Health insurance doesn’t automatically lead to health care. And with more and more doctors dropping out of one insurance plan or another, especially government plans, there is no guarantee that you will be able to see a physician no matter what coverage you have.”
Okay, let me see if I get this logic: If government health insurance is not equal to health care and physicians are dropping out of government health insurance, then by the time we pass universal government health insurance under President Obama there will be no physicians left practicing in government health plans and therefore no health care. Seems logical, right?
Except for one small hiccup….when these “government health plans” are ALL that there is for health care in the entire nation and the only way for physicians to practice medicine in the United States, that would seem to throw a small wrench in the logic. This notion of “Medicare for all” as a way of conceptualizing how universal access to healthcare will work seems to undermine its workability when writers like Mark Seigel from the Wall Street Journal try to characterize universal health care as a broken system from which physicians are fleeing rather than a system into which all physicians could work and all patients receive care.
To talk about universal health care of the future as though it would be the same “Medicare” of the past or the present is to make ridiculous assumptions that presumes that the reader of such an editorial is simply not paying attention.
Summer Johnson, PhD