Our Healthcare System is a National Security Risk

One thing the recent corona virus has made clear is that the healthcare system in the U.S. is a national security risk. How so? Our healthcare system is predominantly a “you can get it if you can pay for it” kind of system that provides medical services to those who can afford it or are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or other government medical programs. However this leaves many without any kind of healthcare protection1 (except for emergency room care that a few remaining hospitals provide the indigent). As a result, many people don’t get preventative healthcare and don’t get treated for early symptoms of disease. Without early detection, containment and treatment, diseases that are contagious and spread through human contact go unchecked and rapidly spread throughout the population. When those diseases have a high fatality rate, their spread is disastrous.

At this time, we are woefully unprepared for a rapid outbreak of the corona virus or any new, rapidly spreading, virulent disease. There is only one test facility, namely the Center for Disease Control that can certify the presence of the disease2. However, the worst of the problems is not testing, but treatement, the cost of which is likely to be astronomical and unaffordable to those without adequate health insurance. As a result, many people without health insurance will be reluctant to be tested for fear of the costs they will incur if they test positive. This will hasten the spread of the disease as successful containment depends entirely on early detection and treatment. Among those affected will be our military and law enforcement personnel which, if affected in sufficiently large numbers, could weaken our defenses and expose us to more crime.

At this stage, it’s impossible to tell how destructive the corona virus will be. It may be far less catastrophic then some predict. Nonetheless, it clearly points out that our present healthcare system poses a risk to our national security in the event that a rapidly spreading, virulent disease strikes our nation.

1 Nearly 30 million Americans are not covered by any kind of insurance including Medicaid.

2 The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of authorizing additional laboratories but, depending on the rapidity of the disease that could be a day late and a dollar short.