I just scheduled the first dentist appointment I've had in a long time. On the one hand, I'm ashamed to say it has been a long time, on the other, I'm not alone. Healthcare is expensive. When you don't have insurance (which is also expensive) it is even more so. The average American simply can't afford proper healthcare. Preventative care is the least expensive all around, however it doesn't receive nearly enough funding to be provided to the majority. I personally would rather pay the cheaper cost for a dental exam than let my oral health go and have to pay for a root canal or worse.
The only reason I am going to the dentist is because I got a coupon in the mail for the cheapest exam price I have seen in the Bay Area or Phoenix. Granted, it's not free. If I was feeling like taking my chances, I might put in for the dental lottery at the Berkeley Free Clinic or attempt the Order of Malta Clinic in Oakland which is also free and gives referrals if they don't offer a service. But I don't like to gamble. I like to bet on sure things. If you ever hear of me betting on something, it is because I am 99% sure I will win. You probably shouldn't bet against me.
As I don't like to gamble, I thought I would rather pay the lowest cost I've seen and hopefully I won't have any cavities or issues. If I do, I'm not sure how that would work. It all depends on cost. It's a horrible truth of healthcare - you have to choose what you can pay. You don't get the luxury of having what you need no matter what.
It is this, more than anything, that disturbs me when people make arguments about healthcare reform. No one ever wants to say that they are intentionally torturing the majority of Americans by withholding preventative and basic care. They don't want to hear the stories of nurses who let infections go because they didn't have insurance which resulted in their deaths (that happened at my mother's work).
There are just some things I would rather pay for as a taxpayer than others. I would rather pay for contraception. Let's make it free and available to everyone. I would rather pay for preventative examinations for women, men, and children in all aspects of health. I would pay for flu vaccines, and STD screening. I would subsidize generic drug manufacture and distribution to make medications cheaper than ever before (and take away subsidies from things like corn and sugar which are robbing farmers and destroying the environment).
It's not that hard. You just have to be a politician whose head isn't up your own ass. You have to stand for what is right and good and realize that your pocketbook is not. There are more important things than fifth generation fortunes.