Monday, October 12, 2009

We're a capitalistic country

Let’s accept it, we’re a capitalistic country. That’s not good and that’s not bad, it’s just the choice of social and financial systems we’ve accepted as our model. But, along with that we must accept the type of society capitalism creates.

Capitalism focuses on money. Money focuses on personal financial gain. Personal gain emphasizes the “Me”, and not the, “Us” point of view.

I consider the majority of Americans (myself included) as capitalists regardless of their income. There are those who have interests in a more communal society but, even the majority of these, are financially secure outside of their pursuit of these broader interests.

To be even more blunt, we’re self centered and selfish. Only as our personal financial and other needs are satisfied do we become more aware/concerned/interested in others. It’s most direct to consider we’re interested in money and list the exceptions. The list of exceptions is much shorter. This isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just capitalism.

We’re currently in the midst of a national debate about restructuring our health insurance system and the prime position of most seems to be “I’ve got mine and I don’t want to lose it”. The “devil we know” argument. Of course, those with no insurance have no devil to know.

Health insurance is about having the resources to obtain health care. Health care is medical intervention in our personal health problems. Insurance, not care is what we’re talking about. Let’s not confuse or equate them.

Insurance is also about individual security within a group effort to spread the risk. That’s an “Us” game and not a “Me” game. Perhaps that’s why in this current discussion of health insurance, the 85% of us who already have insurance are reluctant to change the game.

Jumping to health care, that’s a very personal factor. Here, we can rightly be expected to look at what is best for “Me”. The mix of group insurance VS individual care may be what makes it so difficult to mingle the two.

I’m thinking that, in the end, the health insurance debate will be answered by the perceived benefit to the individual capitalist.

While lamentable that 15% of our citizens don’t have health insurance, the flip side is that 85% do. These 85% see themselves as possibly having to give up or pay more for something they already have to insure that those without health insurance are somehow protected.

Where is the fairness of it all? The problem I see is that the administration seems to be failing to address the concerns of the 85%.

Along this line, why does the administration as well as the media refuse to discuss how the major developed countries have handled the problem. Do you really think the well organized Germans adopted some funky system that is costly and ineffective? Do you think the French (One for all and all for one) have a system their countrymen don’t like?

Why, in the midst of this major debate don’t we at least check out how the competition has handled the problem.

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