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California State Government June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Everybody Deserves Medical Coverage

By Kent P. Mesplay

Candidate for United States Senator; Green Party

This information is provided by the candidate
Health Care is a Human Right. The faster we can enact Single Payer Health Care the safer we will be as a society.
Medical attention is a human right not yet recognized by the United States government. Nearly every other civilized country on the planet has National Health Care. In the same manner that we have a socialized military that at best provides for some aspects of our physical security, single payer health insurance is necessary to ensure that all people within our borders receive at least a basic level of medical and dental care. Quality care can be accomplished in a cost-effective manner guaranteeing high salaries for practitioners without emburdening the middle class any more than we already are by high costs, poor performance and by contributing to both private (company health insurance) and public plans (social security). Our current system of treating health care as a commodity is failing tens of millions of citizens. Haphard coverage renders us all susceptible to transmittable diseases.

The cost of current health care is attributable to advertizing and administrative costs (think "many forms") that can be streamlined and reduced, as well as the actual cost of medical attention in terms of supplies and salaries. Legal suits, or the threat thereof, also add to the cost in terms of malpractice insurance. Medical attention will still cost us, in terms of taxes and perhaps fewer choices, but we already pay literally and figuratively in terms of anxiety over the high cost of coverage when it is needed. Moreover, small and medium-sized businesses, which are the work-engine of any economy, are already forced into providing privatized coverage or passing the charges onto their employees. The private sector, treating health care as a lucrative industry, is not interested in providing coverage to all.

Green Party advocacy of National Health Care is one issue in which we are on the political "left." Health care is a basic service that more properly ought not be left up to the whims of market forces. Even in old age one is forced with a dizzying array of alternate plans and exclusionary clauses (fine print). Moneyed interests, be they private insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, or other exclusively profit-driven players in our current system dominate the "debate" as there is no medium though which disenfranchised citizens can communicate their concerns. The political field could provide a venue for such discussion, but it is currently dominated by big money and snap-shot analyses. I really do believe that the only way we will have more adequate health coverage in this country is for physicians who are truly interested in living the Hippocratic Oath to become politically aware and active and to donate their services when they can.

With changes to the climate and the likely increase of disease vectors such as insects we will want to have a good public health program in place. To not do so will be costly in human terms. The future economic cost of such care can be mitigated now by designing communities better able, at a ground level, to meet anticipated catastrophic challenges. Indeed, when disaster strikes (hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, terrorism) within days the number killed due to hunger, thirst, exposure and disease propagation can match or exceed the number killed by the "initial" event. Helping societies become as self-reliant and self-sufficient as possible means that people are prepared and know what to do after their three-day supplies of canned goods run out. Sustainability is a security issue with a health component. This is not understood by our so-called leaders with their sheltered outlook and their emphasis upon centralizing power and rewarding campaign contributors by ear-marking bills and granting favors without regard for the common good. Waiting for the feds to help during time of extreme crisis is the wrong approach. Got water? Got a place to go to the bathroom if the water is cut off? (and how about your neighbors?). Poor post-catastrophe hygiene causes misery (almost as much as political commercials).

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