2.23.2007

Free drugs and a single-payer healthcare system

Yes, that's right. Employers are realizing that by heavily subsidizing the cost of certain prescription drugs (ones to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and depression), they can lower the cost of insurance overall. Read all about it here.

I think that providing inexpensive preventative care or even, in this case, regular care for chronic conditions, is clearly a good idea. Hospital stays of any length (even a few hours in the emergency room) are very expensive, and anything you can do to prevent them seems like a good idea.

In other news, this report states that the US government currently pays 45% of the costs of healthcare in the US. One excerpt:

They said the findings support claims that the United States is slowly moving towards a single-payer system.
"We are moving incrementally away from traditional sources of insurance, such as employer-based coverage, to a system comprising more federal and state government-provided healthcare," said the study's authors, who work for the agency that runs Medicare.

I was trying to think about what these two things mean together. On the one hand, we have corporations paying for drugs for their employees so that the costs of insuring those employees doesn't continue to skyrocket. Since they're paying for a large part of the cost of insuring their employees, it makes sense to put some effort into keeping those costs down. That's a smart business move, and a nice example of capitalism helping regular people stay healthy. On the other hand, we have a study that shows that the government itself is paying for more and more of the costs of our healthcare, and it seems short-sighted not to cover preventative care and chronic, treatable conditions for the otherwise uninsured, before those people end up in emergency rooms and the government spends a lot more money on the problem. Maybe they should take a lesson from private corporations?



P.S. I haven't forgotten about the promised follow-up JOFA post. Actually, did I promise one? I definitely promised one in my head. I even spent some time writing (outside my head) a post about how Orthodox feminism and I have changed since 1997. Then I found this glorious bit of writing, apparently from 2002, reacting to the Fourth International JOFA Conference and how Orthodox feminism and I had changed since 1997, which put the current draft to shame. Also, it was conveniently written five years ago, so now I have these 10-year-old thoughts and 5-year-old thoughts and current thoughts to sort through. Now I'm trying to figure out if I should just integrate the two pieces of writing or what.

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