Saturday, October 17, 2009

How did we get in this Mess?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post in my other blog, Does learning about History have to be Boring? In the blog I discuss that the way history is taught in schools is why so many people find it to be boring, you should check it out. In the post I state that linking what happened in our past to what is currently happening in our lives would make history far more interesting to kids. Instead, children are taught random dates in history that they have no idea how those dates effect how, where, and why they are living today.

This got me thinking as to why we are in such a big mess regarding our health care issues. Throughout the last 100 years everything we have done as a nation has led to this current problem that we have. I can link very strongly that World War 1 caused the health care issue we are having today. You can go back and look at historical events from the 1910's and see how the United States reacted and thrived with certain events. Every new event that happened forced the American people and government to change their lives and pass certain laws that have led us to this debacle that we are in now.

June 28th, 1914, this is the date that started our health care issues. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria has been assassinated and WW one is about to begin. Germany declares war on Europe and there is a deadly war that lasts for 4 terrible years. Many believed that because of the new advances in weaponery that the war would be short and swift. The opposite happened, because of the advanced weapons, a trench warfare began that lasted most of the war. This long drawn out war devasted the land and forced the countries involved to spend endless amounts of money to supply the war. When the war was over Germany had lost. With the Treaty of Versailles Germany was forced to pay all the loses on both sides of the conflict.

This bankrupted Germany and causes a revolution that eventually started the National Socialist German Workers' Party and brought Adolf Hitler to power. On the economic side the repayments that Germany had to make were made with loans from France and the US, which in turn never got repayed and partially led to the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.

The Great Depression lasted from 1929 until 1941 and the start of World War two for the United Sates. Intially our government did little to help the american people during this crisis. It wasn't until 1933 that programs began to be put in place that eventually would help people in tough times and retirement. With social security , President Roosevelt helped protect people with basic needs. The way this program was set up in the 1930's helped contribute directly to the problems we have with our medical system today. Medicare which was added to the social security system in 1965 only added to the issues. There was something else completely however that is the main cause.

WW2 breaks out and is equally, if not more devastating than the first. The United States fights until 1945 and defeats both the Germans and the Japanese. When our soldiers returned they started families and expanded into America's heartland. The sudden rise in births is refered to as the baby boom. Child births from 1946-1964 rose rapidly and then tapered off after then. With the child births dropping after the boom there started a major influx of people who eventually needed coverage and those paying into it. Those baby boomers now are getting close to retirement and requiring more medical help. To accomodate this we need to expand our medical system rapidly, but we are running into many issues because of a shortage of doctors and rising medical costs. The baby boomers are requiring more help then we as a nation have the ability to provide. The children who came after 1964 are the ones who are charged with taking care of the baby boomers and paying for their retirement and medical care.

There is simply not enough people to provide for the boomers. If there is to be reform, it needs to focus on raising the age the people receive benefits. Since 1933 that is something our government has done very little about. The fact that in 1933 the average life span was 65, in 1965 it was 70, and today it is 78. Except for a 2 year increase to social security there has been no adjustment to when people receive benefits, even though they are living longer.

In the end we have promised so much to a group of people that is too big to accomadate. We have also not built up an infrastructure large enough to support this large influx of older Americans because until now we haven't needed it. Is there a solution to our health care system? See my other blog on why reform is not needed. I think there is a solution but it doesn't involve Washington providing health care. The solution involves people being responsible for themselves and getting our system caught up to the 21st century. Our system is setup very in effeciently. At a time when we need a system to accomadate more people, it is still running in the 20th century for a smaller number of people.

World War 1 caused us to have an enormous group of people today that need care. Every action in the world has a seperate but equal reaction, this is definitly true here. WW1 caused the great depression, the great depression brought about the social programs that we have today, WW2 led to the baby boom, and the baby boom has led to our current crisis. We are in a mess of our own doing. The question is, if we correct this problem, what problems will we create for future generations?

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