If Law Enforcement Worked Like Health Care
February 2, 2012 § 3 Comments
The issue of health care has long been at the top of political debate and policy. Any Christian Democracy movement in the United States will be expected to have a sound, and comprehensive policy on health insurance and medical costs. Medical costs continue to rise, insurance becomes less and less affordable, and the cost problem promises to get only worse as Baby Boomers enter their senior years.
Quality health care is just as essential to a prosperous and stable society as quality law enforcement, fire protection, education, infrastructure, as well as military to protect the population from invasion and rebellion. Yet health care is the only one that hangs the shadow of debt and bankruptcy directly over families.
So what if law enforcement worked the same way as the health care system? A tongue-in-cheek short story may help express my thoughts:
Lena Svenson pulled out of her former employer’s parking lot, her eyes filled with tears. She had one cardboard box filled with her personal belongings and some files. Her company had downsized, and she had been laid off with over a dozen other employees. In addition to the lost income, she was equally concerned about the loss of her benefits, including her family’s cop insurance plan. Her husband had lost his job last year, and was still looking for work.
Before heading home, Lena pulled in to her local branch office of Thin Blue Line/Blue Shield to discuss buying cop insurance for her family. She spoke to insurance agent Ole Olafson about her options.
“How many people are we covering with this policy?” asked Ole.
“Three,” replied Lena. “Myself, my husband, and our son.”
Ole looked over the forms and told Lena she would have to complete a pre-coverage “safety” screening by answering some safety related questions.
“Has your husband ever been violent towards you?”
“Yes, he hit me once years ago, but we’ve since been through counseling and are working together to repair our relationship,” said Lena.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Ole replied, putting the forms back into a folder, “but domestic violence is a pre-existing condition, and we can’t cover you.”
Lena went home heartbroken, and broke the news of the job loss to her family. They decided the would have to risk not having cop insurance until one of them found a job.
Later that night, the police attempted to stop a man with a felony warrant in Lena’s neighborhood. The man fled on foot, and took refuge in Lena’s home and took her family hostage. Lena’s husband pleaded with the man to give himself up while Lena snuck away to use the phone and call 911.
Online with the dispatcher, Lena explained that the wanted man was in her house and holding her family. She demanded the police come and arrest him.
“What kind of insurance coverage do you have?” asked the dispatcher.
“None!” said Lena. “Please, save my family! Can’t the police storm the house and arrest him?”
“Well, ma’am,” replied the dispatcher, “we’re going to have to refer you to the SWAT Team, and since they’re a specialty practice, they’re all booked up until next month. They can help you, but without insurance you’re going to have to pay out-of-pocket, and right now hostage rescue runs about $24,000.”
No American would tolerate this, yet we tolerate it every day with health care. I wish I had a solution to offer, but I do not. Families are suffering, public health is deteriorating, and Washington continues to play games with this issue.