Guns and People Dying

Give me a musket, or give me death… this ought to have been the Supreme Court’s 2nd Amendment interpretation.  Unfortunately, the Court decided the 2nd Amendment covered modern weaponry.  The only question remaining was should there be any reasonable limits?  Should citizens be allowed to own and operate howitzers or Abrams tanks or 50 caliber machine guns?

The Supreme Court left it vague but open to the “people” to establish reasonable limits.  So far the “people” have not shown a collective brilliance in this arena.  But, this post is not about guns.   It is about people dying. 

There is another arena, much more personal, where the American collective judgement is not shining.  It is the area of health care delivery and its outcomes.

Most Americans think of the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins or Kaiser Permanente.  These are well known, top notch medical centers where life saving care is delivered.  Why foreign dignitaries often fly to these facilities with life threatening diseases.  America must have the best health care in the world.

The truth of the matter is, on average, America does not.  It does spend the most (per capita) for health care of any country in the world.  It is just that the outcomes rank only about 17th in the world.  

In a study just released, another even more troubling finding was revealed.   The health outcomes for Americans under 50 are becoming markedly worse than previous generations of Americans.  Life expectancy for under 50’s is dropping like a rock. 

Hmmm.  I don’t see insurance premiums plummeting though.

Guns, that is who can possess them and which guns can they possess is an important issue.  It is not as urgent, however, as the larger issue of health care and its cost.

Americans pride themselves for living in a free country.  So unhealthy life styles and poor health decisions are the right of any American to choose, right?  Sure they are, but who would make these choices if they knew the longer term outcomes?  

The Affordable Care Act eliminated the “pre-existing condition” ploy and made progress in providing insurance coverage for all Americans.  Regrettably,  ACA doubled down on for profit insurance companies and the use of employers as the primary supplier of insurance coverage.  These steps continue to mask the real cost to consumers and inflates health care costs while diverting potential tax revenues.

One would think that the rising cost of health care insurance would be enough to wake up Americans.  So far this has not happened.  Most of those who advocate repealing Obamacare are shameful since those efforts would lead to many more Americans unable to afford coverage. Unless, of course, they advocate a universal health care system like Germany, France, Japan, or 14 other modern countries.  

With another report underlining the deteriorating outcomes of current American health care, is it not time to look at why people are dying?


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