Published: The Huffington Post 2011-01-17
If you don't correct a mistake, you'll make the same mistake again.
It was a mistake nationally to take Single Payer off the table in 2009. Had the Tucson shooter gotten diagnosed and treated, would we be looking at the carnage now?
Today in Pennsylvania a program called AdultBasic is under the knife (Link). Governor-Elect Tom Corbett wants to do away with this program. The funding for this medical coverage program comes comes from health insurance company profits. Well over 40,000 at-risk people are in this program.
Currently, if the Tucson shooter were a Pennsylvanian, the AdultBasic would cover hospitalizations. In hindsight, do most of us feel this guy should have been hospitalized? Are we so sure there aren't members of this commonwealth who have these same conditions and need treatment? Do we want this for our state?
You can take all the resources out of social programs, but then what kind of society will we have? What will we do with the lunatics walking the street? Have the actuaries who have worked the numbers to cut AdultBasic taken into account how many robberies and shooting we will gain by saving a few cents in insurance? What is the cost to the social fabric as we fray the ends?
Even if we don't look at this from a direct mental health standpoint, how about the stress and frustration one would have when being sick with no resources? It is common knowledge that stress is a factor in many illnesses. Stress of not having a place to live is a pretty big stressor.
What does the secondary stress do to the families that watch as a relative is winding down? Are they more stressed that the winding down of the relative is accelerated by the lack of resources? We find the stress cycle rippling across more people. If you want to be actuarially cold about it, this shows up in reduced productivity in the workplace.
Since we have all these guns and gun rights in Pennsylvania, is it a good idea to stress people out?
Is it a cheap point to make that a Tucson rampage can happen here in order to preserve a health resource? I guess you can call me nasty names for bringing it up, but if we have a state that will allow lunatics to walk the street with relaxed gun laws then we are going to pay a price somewhere along the way.
Am I trying to scare the hell out of you from a criminal/crazy standpoint as well as a personal financial disaster standpoint? Yup - the same way we get scared into going into wars or building prisons or producing TARP bailouts.