The assault on healthcare reform has begun. For the next three years, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, HMOs and other halthcare profiteers will spend billions in advertising and more billions in lobbying to convince us that we have the BEST healthcare system in the world and that reform will ruin our system. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have claimed a reputation for quality healthcare by deceit. We are not the best in the world; we are 37th on the list behind most EU countries with government-run simgle-payer universal healthcare.
Single-payer government-managed healthcare is the only way to bring costs down. I have worked in several hospitals and clinics while in college and shortly after, so I am not speaking in ignorance.
The real problem is that insurance companies must make a profit, and to do so, they must up the premiums and deny as many claims as possible. When care is denied, it results in loss of life or loss of quality of life. Further, most insurance companies do not pay claims for preventive healthcare. They wait until the problem becomes chronic or acute, when it is too late and when the costs for healthcare go up astronomically.
The old standby fear-mongering that “a government bureaucrat will decide your healthcare” can easily be countered with the fact that WE ALREADY HAVE BUREAUCRATS DECIDING OUR HEALTHCARE — INSURANCE COMPANY BUREAUCRATS — and they do not have our best interests at heart, but rather the health of the company.
If the government provides the same healthcare as all Federal employees have available to them, that is an improvement, but not the best we can do. A better solution is for the government to put us all on the same basic coverage as Medicaid, but Federally run rather than State run. The premiums for those not indigent would be lower and the defaults for emergency care of indigent would be significantly less. It would profit us in the long run by having a healthier populace but, more important to business, a healthier workforce and less overhead to figure in the cost of labor for Big Business.
This would make us far more competitive with foreign labor (with the exception of the third world countries who treat their workers and citizens as expendable resources). Real reform in healthcare will only be possible with some government control over cost. I do not believe the value of a person’s life or quality of life should be sacrificed to the bottom line.
Arius (from another blog) said:
France, Germany, and Great Britain all have nationalized health care – and they ALL spend less per capita than we do. Stick THAT in your stethoscope and listen to it.
There is a theory that competition will bring prices down. So far it has not. There is more price-fixing among medical practices, pharmaceutical companies and HMOs than there is real competition that benefits the consumer. Competition does not guarantee a low price. Examples of how government cost regulation kept prices low is when they controlled milk prices when I was young. When the regulation ended, prices went up astronomically. And then there is the breakup of Ma Belle that was promised to lower our phone bills and improve our service than’s to competition. Well, our phone bills went up immediately after the break-up and the service went down, and this has been going on for a while now. Even the introduction of the mobile phone did not improve long-distance prices for land-line service, which is why most folks use a mobile phone for long distance calls, and many (especially the young) only have a mobile phone.
Arius is right. The superiority of our healthcare is a myth. Here is a good list of resources regarding world health statistics: http://search.who.int/search?ie=utf8&si … itesearch=
The following table shows where the US ranks in comparison to other countries in terms of healthcare systems and their efficiency (infant mortality, etc.). The US in 37, behind virtually every EU country and Canada.
So, don’t pretend that we are so superior to everyone else. We are not. For the U.S. to be 37th in the world is shameful given the resources that we have.
Table 1. Overall efficiency in all WHO member states
[Country names shortened by blogger]
1 France 96 Fiji 2 Italy 97 Benin 3 San Marino 98 Nauru 4 Andorra 99 Romania 5 Malta 100 St. Kitts & Nevis 6 Singapore 101 Moldova 7 Spain 102 Bulgaria 8 Oman 103 Iraq 9 Austria 104 Armenia 10 Japan 105 Latvia 11 Norway 106 Yugoslavia 12 Portugal 107 Cook Islands 13 Monaco 108 Syria 14 Greece 109 Azerbaijan 15 Iceland 110 Suriname 16 Luxembourg 111 Ecuador 17 Netherlands 112 India 18 U.K. 113 Cape Verde 19 Ireland 114 Georgia 20 Switzerland 115 El Salvador 21 Belgium 116 Tonga 22 Colombia 117 Uzbekistan 23 Sweden 118 Comoros 24 Cyprus 119 Samoa 25 Germany 120 Yemen 26 Saudi Arabia 121 Niue 27 U.A.E. 122 Pakistan 28 Israel 123 Micronesia 29 Morocco 124 Bhutan 30 Canada 125 Brazil 31 Finland 126 Bolivia 32 Australia 127 Vanuatu 33 Chile 128 Guyana 34 Denmark 129 Peru 35 Dominica 130 Russia 36 Costa Rica 131 Honduras 37 U.S.A. 132 Burkina Faso 38 Slovenia 133 Sao Tome & Principe 39 Cuba 134 Sudan 40 Brunei Darussalam 135 Ghana 41 New Zealand 136 Tuvalu 42 Bahrain 137 Côte d’Ivoire 43 Croatia 138 Haiti 44 Qatar 139 Gabon 45 Kuwait 140 Kenya 46 Barbados 141 Marshall Islands 47 Thailand 142 Kiribati 48 Czech Republic 143 Burundi 49 Malaysia 144 China 50 Poland 145 Mongolia 51 Dominican Republic 146 Gambia 52 Tunisia 147 Maldives 53 Jamaica 148 Papua New Guinea 54 Venezuela 149 Uganda 55 Albania 150 Nepal 56 Seychelles 151 Kyrgyzstan 57 Paraguay 152 Togo 58 South Korea 153 Turkmenistan 59 Senegal 154 Tajikistan 60 Philippines 155 Zimbabwe 61 Mexico 156 Tanzania 62 Slovakia 157 Djibouti 63 Egypt 158 Eritrea 64 Kazakhstan 159 Madagascar 65 Uruguay 160 Viet Nam 66 Hungary 161 Guinea 67 Trinidad & Tobago 162 Mauritania 68 St. Lucia 163 Mali 69 Belize 164 Cameroon 70 Turkey 165 Laos 71 Nicaragua 166 Congo 72 Belarus 167 North Korea 73 Lithuania 168 Namibia 74 St. Vincent & the Grenadines 169 Botswana 75 Argentina 170 Niger 76 Sri Lanka 171 Equatorial Guinea 77 Estonia 172 Rwanda 78 Guatemala 173 Afghanistan 79 Ukraine 174 Cambodia 80 Solomon Islands 175 South Africa 81 Algeria 176 Guinea-Bissau 82 Palau 177 Swaziland 83 Jordan 178 Chad 84 Mauritius 179 Somalia 85 Grenada 180 Ethiopia 86 Antigua & Barbuda 181 Angola 87 Libya 182 Zambia 88 Bangladesh 183 Lesotho 89 Macedonia 184 Mozambique 90 Bosnia & Herzegovina 185 Malawi 91 Lebanon 186 Liberia 92 Indonesia 187 Nigeria 93 Iran 188 Congo 94 Bahamas 189 Central African Republic 95 Panama 190 Myanmar 191 Sierra Leone