Why government should be—and is, quite effectively—involved in health care

What do conservatives mean when they say, “Government should be kept out of health care as much as possible?” as a Missouri State Representative recently stated in an article I just read in my neighborhood newspaper. Does he mean keep government out of my Medicare? Medicare has provided quality services to all of us 65 and older and to those disabled and unable to work.

Does he mean keep government out of Medicaid? Without Medicaid our working poor would have no routine medical care. Without Medicaid many of our nursing homes and care centers would close their doors.

Does he mean keep government from paying for our federally-funded health care centers? Without these centers our low-income neighbors would receive no ongoing care for chronic problems.

Does he mean keep government from helping hospitals by providing funds for uncompensated care?

Does he mean keep government from providing health care for our veterans, those who fought for our country?

Or does he mean he wants no government interference with our private, for-profit insurance companies – companies that until the government “interfered,” denied insurance for pre-existing conditions, denied coverage to women for pregnancy, and have typically spent more than 15 percent of their premiums on salaries and compensation for their executives while increasing premiums without notice?

Or does he mean keep our state government out of the business of requiring a health insurance exchange that would allow small businesses and individuals to compare policies and choose one that meets their needs? With that “solution,” we will now have the federal government plan our insurance exchange.

Who we really need to keep out of health care are legislators who obstruct needed health care reform instead of working and compromising to see that the system works for us all.

About Mary Clemons:
Mary Clemons, retired but not retiring, moved from being an armchair progressive to becoming an active advocate for issues of social justice. She credits her new found skills in writing and speaking out to Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice. She is immediate past president of the organization.