Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Common Good, Common Need and a Common Cost [healthcare costs, a brief review]

Healthcare is an important issue – also a misnomer as it is referring to medical care – that justifiably gets much attention.  Politicians offer various plans that are supposed to fix the system – that was broken by earlier politicians – to varying degrees of the same principle: that the State can fix the problems in the system.  Whether it is Romneycare or Obamacare, only degree differs, and both Republicans and Democrats want to get your support for their respective plans.

Healthcare is a good, and as everyone living is going to have some kind of a medical issue at some point, some say that healthcare is a right of the individual.  As a right, it is something everyone should have and that making people pay according to various life factors is problematic.  (In general) That women use more healthcare (child birth and longer life spans), that some are born with a predisposition or have a disease/sickness that was outside their control, or are making poor life choices that negatively affects their health are not to be considered.  After all, it’s ‘sexism’ to say that women should pay more for what they use more, not the fault of those who rolled ‘snake eyes’ with Nature’s dice, or society’s failing those who didn’t learn to make better decisions.

An analogy, if you will, to something that is more important and pressing than healthcare: food.  For we may not become greatly ill or ever get injured so our healthcare costs may be minimal, but there is no way that anyone can live long without eating regularly.  Then we shall see how costs look.

Let us take a look at two people: a woman who is 5’1”, around 110lbs, eats healthy with an occasional unhealthy treat and is fairly fit, though not working out every day, she does make it a point to exercise at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes each workout; a man who is 6’1”, around 220lbs and working out six days a week, primarily lifting weights for at least one hour each day.  Or, we can contrast the aforementioned woman who has a desk job against another man who builds houses, or we can contrast the first woman again against another who may not be obese, but is large as in 6’10”. 

Shall we make food a common good, as it is a common need and therefore a common cost?  Shall we make it so that each person has to pay the same amount, even though there will be a great variation in how much each individual consumes based upon the context of his or her life?  How much more should the 5’1” 110lbs woman who has the desk job pay for the 6’1” 220lbs man who spends extra time to increase his muscle mass?-or for the man to build houses?-or for the giant just for being big? 

If there is to be a different amount paid by each individual based upon their life situations (activity and genetics), shall the condemnations of sexism (man-hating) or cruelty for not considering their situations (genetic ‘snake eyes’ or social system that ‘led’ to seeing being muscular as good) be used?  Food is more important than healthcare, for though one may eventually ‘walk it off’ or a cold may pass, there is no way to get around the necessity of eating and replenishing nourishment – an aspect of true healthcare instead of just medical care.  If people should pay based upon their life context for food, the same goes for healthcare – need to use it more, it costs more.  Any political act, as has been the case ever since it was injected into the system, will serve to exacerbate the issue, not fix.