Haiti, Policy, and Healthcare

We are , as a country - dispatching medical aid to Haiti in the wake of their catastrophe.

At a time in which Chaos reigns, the concept of a National Health Service should be brought to bear. Great Britain, upon seeing their country devastated by the war - and realizing that the economy just before the war was nearly destroyed, but somehow during wartime - the economy flourished as the government built warships, tanks and guns - decided that during peacetime they will build hospitals, clinics and schools.

Haiti is a libertarian country. They adopted the lowest import taxes of the Carribean. As a result, the cheaper 'Miami Rice' flooded their markets and drove their farmers into bankruptcy. They also take the view that regulation of the environment shoulders needless burden on businesses, and the taxation that goes along with it stifles innovation and small business - and have taken a low taxation 'hands off' policy in regard to such laws. Here's what it looks like from the air (left is Haiti, Right is the Dominican Republic).

We are currently a country that seems to say "If you get sick, you'd better have healthcare coverage" and then charge high premiums, deny coverage to those who need it - and deny claims to those who have filed. An unforeseen medical expense is the listed cause of over 64% of all bankruptcies in the middle class as of time of writing, perhaps even higher.

But the concept that we, as a country - would go down to Haiti and charge them a co-pay or a premium, or deny them medical care because their countrymen had various existing conditions - or perhaps - issue medical care to save someone's life, then charge them when their claim is denied - is laughable.

We will head down to Haiti to help out, as best as we can - and simply rely upon the infrastructure we put in place to pay for it. Someone has to pay for it.

And thats not such a bad thing. In the bad old days of fire departments, homes that were not insured would not have their fires extinguished. All firemen were private employees of Insurance companies. If a home didn't have a policy, it would burn. Since fires, like ecological disasters and medical disease - have a way of jumping from home to home on their own - we decided its best to simply have the taxpayers fund the operation of fire departments that could be there to do the job.

Haiti, it could be said. Is a country with a pre-existing condition. But it will not be denied care. We will help. And in the end, perhaps - as we rebuild - we could strengthen a few laws down there such as "take a tree, plant a seedling". And perhaps maybe even ecourage them to raise their taxes and install a stronger set of conditions to allow their agribusiness to regenerate.

But in the end, government policy can only go so far. We have seen the effect of it all in the devastation of this country - and their inability to respond. A weak person , if you hit them, can't get back on their feet.

Some countries, in fact. Actually die. Haiti will die. There is no forest left (only 1.5% of the forests of the country remain). The rice is dying in the fields due to lower priced imported rice... Without medicine, the victims of the recent disaster will mount to extremely high levels.

And then the tipping point will occur.


Anonymous said…
Famous last words, tb.