David Byrne on Health Care

Why is this so difficult for people to understand?

In the long run, and from a wider perspective, health care does more than just insure against sudden medical costs — that is, public health care, not insurance plans. Public health care ensures that everyone lives without the fear that the bottom of their world will suddenly drop out. In the US, people with medical emergencies suddenly can’t pay their mortgages, college tuition or for their kids. They often end up on skid row, or at least in bad shape, because their financial situation is precarious (since there is no safety net) and a medical emergency knocks the whole thing down. In those countries where these worries are not as pressing, the people’s lives are different — they’re less desperate, less on the edge, and therefore everyone, even those who are paying more than their share, benefits. It’s hard to quantify that benefit, I would imagine — but anyone with eyes and ears can sense it.

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