The Times They Are a Changing

While it is nice to know that there are likely changes in the wind for the health care system in the United States, it is disappointing to see that those changes may set the system back even more.

Looking around the country for what changes may be in the wind for U.S. health care has revealed several disturbing trends. The first trend is failure of the states to expand insurance coverage to the uninsured. This should raise red flags for anyone following the state of the nation and the economy – things intricately tied to the health of the health care system.

In Pennsylvania, a recent two-year session of legislature ended with no compromises in site on revamping that state’s health care system. The complexities of achieving something that enormous and the realization that there were not nearly enough tax dollars to achieve the hoped for changes, shut the House down. This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is happening in other states with regard to health care.

The biggest bugaboo would have been the necessity to increase taxes to sustain the expanded health care coverage to the uninsured. Plain and simple, taxpayers do not want their taxes increased. This is the quintessential Catch-22 situation. Tax dollars are needed to fund changes, but the people do not want their taxes raised. This despite how they may feel about everyone being entitled to insurance coverage.

Other states in a similar boat are New Mexico, Illinois and California. None of the lawmakers there could decide how to fund necessary changes either. While they may realize changes are needed, there is no real way to effect change without money to do it; which makes the election of a new administration something to watch carefully for signals of what the future may hold.

The bottom line in any economy is first and foremost the economy itself needs to be healthy, active and in the black. If it is not, there can be no progress in other areas. It is just that simple. Unless there is some serious tinkering with the U.S. economy to smarten it up, improvements in the ailing health care system are not going to come any time soon – not unless they are minor changes to do some good will tune-ups.

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