Thursday, October 28, 2004

No Comment Necessary...

...But I'll comment anyway.  Again.  I've noted before that scientists and physicians have been outspoken about political issues, as we have gotten closer to the election. 

The latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine has another open-access health care policy article, the last one we'll see from them before the election.  They saved the best for last. 

Health Care Coverage and Drug Costs — The Candidates Speak Out
George W. Bush, and John F. Kerry

The article is short; if you are interested, you should read the whole thing.  If you are not interested, you should move to another country.  John Kerry offers a broader, more effective, more detailed, and more carefully though-out plan.  Mr. Bush offers a little more of the same: some social engineering via directed tax cuts, and a little more funding for afew things.

Last night, I heard an interview on NPR, The Connection, I think, in which Dick Gordon interviewed a couple of preachers about the role of religion in politics.  Neither stated an explicit endorsement of either of the main candidates for President, but it was clear that one supported Kerry, and the other supported Bush.  The one who supported Bush stated that Bush has demonstrated one of the core values of the Christian bible, that of concern for the poor and otherwise underprivileged.  I thought to myself, 'yeah, he cares about them so much, he is doing all he can to make more people join them...'

Mr. Bush has gotten more people below the poverty line -- many of them children -- more homeless, and more uninsured, than any president in recent history. 

Yes, the Kerry plan will cost more, but it also will do more.  The cost will be borne by taxpayers.  But the country will be more productive, and almost everyone will have lower health insurance premiums.  The idea of having the government cover much of the cost of catastrophic illness, is brilliant.  The idea of getting health insurance for nearly everyone shows true compassion...and it will be good for the economy.  Remember, various tax schemes merely shift money around; they do not directly produce anything.  Anything of value is produced by people, and those people have to be healthy to do their jobs.

It has been estimated that the shortage of influenza vaccine will cost the US economy twenty billion dollars.  And that is just a small example of the impact of illness on economic productivity.  Getting health insurance for more people will have a much greater impact.