Is it in our National Interest to have a healthy population. and if so, who should pay?
In the 30's thru the 60's we commissioned great public infrastructure works with public private partnerships.
Corporations, and the government offered better living conditions, during the depression, food and preventative healthcare as a means to complete their contracts and win new ones.
If you have ever driven down an interstate, or live down stream of a dam( Los Angeles) , you are a beneficiary of this public private partnership.
Recent benefits include;
the mission to the moon, which directly brought us as citizens, handheld calculators, microwave ovens , tang, smartphones, personal computers, smart watches, and disposable diapers .
Today, corporations act in their own self interest, superseding sovereign nations, passing off healthcare costs to the government, which the taxpaying middle class public subsidizes.
"Is it in our National Interest to have a healthy population. and if so, who should pay?"
You have put the issue very well and very concisely.
In a poll, I guess almost everyone would agree that having a healthy population, or at least access to quality health care, is in the national interest. It is also very likely that most would agree it needs to be funded through a combination of private and public resources. Even the Bill that failed in the Senate on Friday last, (which may soon reemerge in a different form) contained that principle.
The problem is really in two areas: how should it be provided (the supply side), and how should consumer's understandable desire to consume excessive amounts of health care (that is exactly what people with access to good medical services do) be limited to what is "medically" suitable, as opposed to lucrative, in each case.
It is clear that there is no agreement whatsoever on these questions. Without such agreement there is no way forward other than a continuation of the current debates on how to tinker with the insurance market. The insurance market has nothing to do with health care--it is simply a financial mechanism to transfer risk from the patient to a third party.
There is no question but that the system can be fixed. However, it is not like an infrastructure project which has high investment costs and modest maintenance costs. It has very high investment costs and even higher and ever-increasing running costs so it is a difficult problem.
In the best case, one could tweak the existing system to provide access for more people, either by raising taxes and/or additional borrowing, and work toward a fundamental overhaul of the supply side over a 15-20 year period.