Re: Should the government provide health care to it's citizens
That really depends upon how one defines: "citizen," "Healthcare," and a number of other things.
The question should, really, be: "Why is it that so many people do not have what they feel is adequate healthcare?"
Too expensive? Why is that?
It's not 'because of money-grubbing insurance companies.' It's not as simple as cartoon villains. Insurance companies have huge amounts of power with which they can (and do) haggle the industry standard pricing for procedures, medications, etc down (because that stuff costs -them- money). If prices are going up - it's not just because health insurance companies want more money.
I don't have all the answers - but a number of different probes have been launched and the results published by various think-tanks that attempt to identify the sources of swelling healthcare costs.
"Largely ignored in much of the current debate over health care is the excessive use of medical resources by ordinary Americans. No politicians are giving speeches blaming the average citizens of the country for overusing medical care. There are no fireside chats with the president asking citizens to stop seeing doctors so often, asking parents to have their children "tough it out" and not see the doctor for every little scratch, asking the elderly to give up that extra year or two of life. Politicians are not so foolish.
But turning a blind eye to the consumption of medical resources by patients is a mistake. If the country is overusing medical resources, patients must bear responsibility for much of that overuse. We cannot cut our medical expenditures without reducing our consumption of medical resources. Fortunately, we know why patients overuse medical resources, and we know how to solve the problem. Unfortunately, the political will to enact correctives to the problem is not as easily come by, and the current administration in Washington seems to prefer to make empty promises to reduce costs while at the same time increasing medical services.
The concept of "excessive" medical use has a very precise meaning in economic analysis. When the marginal value of the resources used in a medical treatment is greater than the marginal value provided to the patient by the medical treatment, then the medical treatment is classified as "excessive." Note that the economic concept does not require that the medical treatment be without value altogether.
That definition needs to be contrasted with that of the medical community, which typically defines "excessive" treatment as a treatment that is not medically beneficial, as in the claim that cesarean sections are performed in many cases where they serve no positive medical purpose. The medical definition of "excessive" is similar to that of "fraudulent." Patients purportedly accept unneeded treat ment because they are misled by doctors. Yet the economic concept of "excessive" does not require any deceit or fraud at all. It merely requires that patients receive treatment that the patients themselves value at less than the cost of the treatment."
While I believe a government has a responsibility to promote the development of new medical technologies, only the most local of governments should be taking on such massive amounts of responsibility for the individual within society.
If a city wants to fund public access to healthcare for its residents - by all means - they can do that. In fact - I would not be entirely opposed to having public clinics funded by town/city ordainance. But I wouldn't be for treating it with the delusional idea that it's going to become the most prestigeous hospital/clinic in the state. It's there to provide a functional service, not to save the world.
That said - I think we do place too much faith in 'modern medicine;' surgery, prescriptions, and other 'doctor magic' that can be a simple solution to problems. More emphasis needs to be put on the raw fact that many surgical procedures (such as bypass surgery) show no statistical advantage over those who undergo lifestyle therapy following a heart attack or other such problem. Sure - surgery has its place, and coupled with lifestyle therapy can be a very effective way to help someone recover to a good quality of life... but the fact of the matter is that simply adjusting your diet to include more balanced nutrition (it doesn't even have to be "organic" like all the 'tards like to bellow about) will often do just as much, if not more for you than any prescription drug will.
It's the microwave mentality: "Well... go ahead and cut me open so we can fix this. Time is a wasting, Doc!"
And while our bodies are machines, blessed with amazing self-repair abilities... when the failure of those self-repair systems to keep us in health become apparent, it is going to take more than a couple hours in the OR or a few simple pills to correct the issue. But that's not how people want to think - and people who think like that should, honestly, not have medical treatment wasted on them.