Mental health is an essential part of any changes to address gun violence, with suicides being a significant number of total gun deaths per year. But with the healthcare system still broken, it’s fanciful to suggest any real action on mental health in the United States.
Any major strike, such as the recent teachers’ strike in West Virginia, has healthcare as a sticking point. Replacing employer-provided healthcare, particularly in the public sector, removes a large amount of the friction contributing to labor disputes. It also removes the few, sticky religious freedom arguments that employers have about providing contraceptive coverage.
It removes a line-item that must be worried over year-to-year from most businesses and, depending on the implementation, potentially from most governments as well. That simplifies a lot of budgeting, freeing the workers responsible for maintenance of those decisions to shift to other tasks.
Drug prices, artificially high and an endless source of frustration for those with chronic ailments, can be brought in line, once again simplifying the economic decision making that saps energy from the populace. It can also simplify the work of the FDA and drug makers, who can better understand the targets for better drugs and better vetting of drugs.
On the issues of Medicaid, work requirements go away along with the incentives to impose them (budgetary pressure). Doctors can focus on patient health, and patients can focus on employment, all without these external, artificial pressures.
All of it can be done in a way that saves money by shifting private payments to public payments and raising taxes to offset the public costs.
The failure to honestly approach healthcare reform impacts gun violence, labor disputes, the unreasonable costs of healthcare, has a negative effect on business productivity, and forces states to treat the poor like liabilities rather than human beings.
Fixing healthcare will help treat a number of societal problems, if only there were the will to do it.