The Case for Universal Health Care

In the opening scene of the old television show Fantasy Island, actor Herve Villechaize would ring a bell and shout “The plane, the plane” to announce the latest arrival of new tourists.[1]  In a similar fashion, I’m announcing “The book, the book” has at long last been published and is now available through major book retailers including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million.[2] 

I’m in the midst of marketing the book and one of the most effective means is word-of-mouth, so, please recommend it to your friends and acquaintances.  If you like the book (and I believe you will), consider posting a positive review on the website of the retailer you purchase it from.  My commitment to this project has not been to make a lot money from the sale of the book (I only get 10%, so that was never an impetus), but to get the ideas and information about universal health care out to general public.  Unfortunately, most Americans are uninformed and misinformed and thus unsure of the benefits universal health care provides.  The proposal I’ve formulated makes universal health care not only affordable, but also truly universal. 

I started writing The Case for Universal Health Care a couple of years after I retired in 2010; that’s right, I worked on it for about six years.  At times there were lapses of weeks to months in my writing and other times when I’d work on it four to six hours a day.  The end result was a 315 page manuscript (352 with endnotes/references).  As it was single-spaced, I assumed it would be about the same length when published in a printed and bound volume.  Wrong.  A standard sheet of paper is 8.5” x 11” whereas a typical softcover book is 6” x 9”.  The difference might not sound like much, but to condense the manuscript into a publishable product, I had to cut it by about 40%.  When the publisher told me I would have to make cuts, I was very thoughtful and deliberate.  However, the manuscript still did not come in at a publishable length.

To get to the next stage of edits, I was influenced by Stephen King, who, to get The Stand published, had to cut about 400 pages from the original manuscript.[3]  I also had a geography teacher in college who often used the term “slashnburn”.  He was Indonesian and had an accent, so I did not at first understand what he was referring to.  I asked and he replied, “You clear a forest and prepare it for agricultural use by slashing down all the trees and burning them: slash and burn.  So, with that analogy in mind, I decided that my original manuscript was like my doctoral dissertation, which would reflect the totality of my research; however, the published book would be a comprehensive yet readable work.  And, I believe it has worked as the material flows smoothly, captures the important information I wanted and needed to present, and is presented in style that suitable for a general readership.  And as regards information I had to cut, well that is what this blog is, in part, for.

My writing technique is eclectic.  I knew what I wanted to include in the book but did not have a hard and fast outline.  Consequently, I experimented with the flow of the chapters, at times moving material from one end of the manuscript to another.  As I did this it became evident that there were three major themes: (1) how the current health system is organized and how it works, (2) problems and challenges in the existing system, and (3) my proposal for universal health care as way of addressing these issues and supporting evidence for the proposal.

The most challenging chapter was also the longest and unfortunately, the one I had to edit the most.  This is chapter 11, “The Moral and Ethical Case for Universal Health Care.”  It was also the most difficult to write because of the amount of research I did, and the issues addressed in this chapter.  I was very interested in why individuals with a conservative orientation tend to reject the concept of the common good.  For example, why do so many evangelical Christians accept Jesus as a healer of the spiritual and physical body, but reject universal health care, which essentially is what he was practicing?  The chapter explores this question from multiple perspectives, including inherited aspects of personality traits, moral development, and life experiences.  It is a question that continues to interest me, therefore, I have decided to use some of the material I had to edit out in another book; hopefully one that will not take me another six years to write!

I’m pleased to see my creation in print and in the marketplace.  I want to end with a quote from the book, which helps to explain why I believe there is indeed a strong case for universal health care for the United States:

“We Americans pay more for health care than the citizens of any other country with an organized health care system and far more than people living in countries with universal health care.  It should not only disturb you that millions of Americans must seek out health care from RAM (Remote Area Medicine, a free clinic), it should make you very angry that each of us pays so much for the care we do receive.  This chapter explains how we pay for health care and describes the many ways we pay for the health care of others.  Ultimately, we are paying for universal health care, we just don’t know it!”

[1] Broadcast in the 1970s and 1980s, I realize that many readers of this blog may not have a frame of reference as they’ve not viewed this television show.  Interestingly, it’s been remade into a horror movie which will be released in 2020.

[2] If you prefer to support local book sellers, they can order the book from SCB Distributors, 15608 South New Century Drive, Gardena, CA  90248.  The book ISBN number is: 978-1-949762-05-1. 


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