Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pick up the Pieces, Fill in the Gaps, Etc...

Saturday, July 11, 2009
Bob Mercer, writing for the Aberdeen American News

An interesting article in the Aberdeen American News speaks to the dread that socialized health care should engender.

The most important part of the story comes in the third and fourth paragraphs:

[South Dakota] State Social Services Secretary Deb Bowman said there is no question that South Dakota must help pay when the Indian Health Service refers patients to outside health care providers.

She described the Indian Health Service as "woefully inadequately funded" by Congress and said many services, including even normal births of babies, must be provided through outside clinics, hospitals and specialists.

Every time I read about the Indian Health Service and its failings, I think I get a different picture than these articles intend to give. Many tribes see the failure of the IHS as a failure of the white power structure (i.e. the federal government) to live up to its obligations (which were entered into by our forefathers largely in bad faith anyway).

What I see is a shining example of what a single-payer federally funded health care system would be like for everyone. Make no mistake, it's not a question of if the private insurance industry would be crowded out; it's only a question of when. At least in Indian Country, they have an option for when the Federal Government fails them. What would our options be with a nationwide system of the same kind?

On a more personal note, I'm getting socked in the pocketbook twice already. My federal tax dollars pay for IHS, and state tax dollars pay for the medicaid that picks up the slack. I do not want to be charged a third time for someone else's health insurance.

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