Where does America rank in healthcare quality and efficiency?

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 BUREAUCRATSand 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                  


http://www.who.int/healthinfo/paper30.pdf. p. 18


About Laura Schneider

Retired IT consultant (disabled), musician and animal lover. I support the constitutional concept of Right of Privacy and no discrimination against any person based on race, religion, ideology, gender, sexual preference or disability. I am very concerned about the erosion of our constitutional rights and protections under GWB (and even this administration). I strongly oppose torture, rendition or illegal search and/or seizure (without a warrant) and warrantless wiretapping. I believe that education is our best hope of a bright future for our children. Knowledge is power, and that's the kind of authority (Biblically speaking) that our children must have in order to be successful in a 21st century world.
This entry was posted in healtcare, pandemics, swine flu and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Where does America rank in healthcare quality and efficiency?

  1. Milton says:

    I agree we should be in the top ten if not number one in the world when it comes to health care. I am ashamed of our health care system it has been compromised by profit instead of caring for people. 37th really is shameful.

  2. Chirs says:

    You are comparing “quality heathcare” with the WHO study which is misleading. The WHO includes many factors other than quality including Distribution, financial fairness, and responsiveness (which includes quality of linens).
    Americans have a higher survival rate than any other country on earth for 13 of 16 of the most common cancers. With that said, we certainly need reform.

    Let’s focus on the areas which need reform (tort reform, better regulation of insurance, billing and other admin efficiencies, fraud, preventative care, accountability for those who smoke etc.). A single payer system will not provide the incentive for innovation.

    • Laura Ward says:

      Innovation will not be hampered by a single payer system. Biomedical companies will still have ample incentive to bring new innovative products into the market. It’s doesn’t matter who is paying our nation’s health care, companies will still be rewarded by bringing more effective and efficiency-producing products to the market. Furthermore, biomedical companies are global in nature and are able to sell their new devices all over the world. The small difference in who’s paying for health care in the US will make no difference to a biomedical company.

      As for medical facilities, they will still have the incentive to perform well and achieve high results on such independent critiques such as the JCAHO health facility survey, as long as patients continue to have the freedom to choose their facility for care.

      • I agree with you that a single-payer, government-managed system will not hamper innovation. What it will hamper is exploitation of American patients.

        A profit-motivated company will have no incentive to improve quality if what they are doing now sells, unless there is a way for American patients to “collectively bargain” for better prices and better quality, and that is what a single-payer, government-managed (meaning cost-effective, but not-for-profit) system provides.

        Right now (and this was true 10 years ago and before that), patients in countries all over the world are paying considerably less for medications than what Americans pay for their “co-pay” when filling prescriptions. The retail price for many drugs in Manila, Philippines, were lower than my insurance co-pays. Justification? Americans can afford to pay more (at least the wealthy and insured can), the others who can’t afford it don’t count.Insurance bureaucrats are acting as “death panels” who decide whether or not your life is worth saving. If the treatment you need is not profitable, you don’t get it.

        The one thing Obamacare did accomplish was to eliminate pre-existing illness denial of coverage. But the Republicans are trying desperately to repeal or defund or otherwise kill Obamacare before it has a chance to be fully implemented. We are the only ones who can stop this.

        • Laura Ward says:

          We are 100% in agreement. I worked in the health care industry for a number of years, but I do not have an insider’s bias because as a patient I have had too many negative experiences with USA health care. I’m so disgusted with our health care system; I chose to self pay and go to Mexico for a procedure because my insurance company gave me the run-around for more than a year and a half. It shocks some people that I would go to Mexico, but Mexico isn’t much further down the WHO list than the USA, and the hospitals near the border that cater to medical tourism are outstanding. Four surgeries in the last 10 years, and by far the best experience I had was in Mexico. I compared many things, but the best thing of all was that the hospital in Mexico treated me like a valued customer. The hospitals in the USA did not… because I was NOT the customer, the tightwad insurance company was paying the bills. You are correct that the insurance companies are obviously about profit, but yet for some reason too shortsighted to pay for preventive procedures that would keep them from paying much more later. My guess is that they have some business model that says a certain number of people who are denied preventive procedures will just die and therefore go away; I don’t know. I could go on and on, but I wont. 🙂

          • You are exactly right. I worked on both the plaintiff and defense side in law as a legal assistant, and I can tell you that insurance companies have calculated by industry and specifically by type of suit just how much your life is worth. They have statistics that tell them what the percentage of survivorship is for any specific injury or illness, and how many of those actually follow through with complaints al the way to a verdict. So, the bottom line is, your life’s “value” in their eyes is based on how much it would cost to put on a successful defense as opposed to how much it would cost to provide the needed treatment. And they can always ‘wait you out” until you either give up and stop appealing their decision or die, whichever comes first.

            Most Americans just don’t want to believe that executive boards would make those kind of policies, but in a “for profit” business, they are required b y law to maximize profits. There is no qualifier that says they should maximize profits only to the point where it is socially responsible, so that means if maximizing profits means they destroy liv es or the environment or whatever, that’s just too bad. And their policies will only change when either the law changes and the penalties for breaking the law are greater than the difference in profit.

            “For profit” should not be a big mystery. It means that insurance companies and non-government agencies that are for profit are doing just that: they are charging patients the cost of services PLUS whatever the market will bear in order to make the maximum profit. Many Americans have bought the Big Business propaganda and are convinced that government is the problem, but government is a non-profit enterprise, and anything the government does can be done for less than what a for-profit enterprise will do, by definition.

            Big Business has privatized so many governmental functions and passed on the cost of their profits to Americans. Our prison system has become an institution where not only are American taxpayers paying for the privilege of having their prisoners housed by private FOR-PROFIT companies, but the prison labor also provides these companies with forced labor opportunities that drive down the cost of labor in the free market. Everything from agriculture to manufacturing to crafts is now a part of the endless pool of virtually free labor. “Virtually free” is the term I use, because even thought the law states that prisoners must be paid market price for their labor, by the time the prisons charge them for the cost of living and security in prisons, there is very little of their paycheck left when they get it. So, American taxpayers pay the company, forced prison labor pays the company, and the company makes profits on the goods made by prisoners — a profit trifecta, if you will. The company wins, places and shows profit on every level, while prisoners are exploited for their labor and given longer mandatory sentences to make sure the prisons stay profitable and the labor pool is sufficient — all while American taxpayers are footing the bill, and not for less than what it would cost them to operate the prisons directly.

            And now since the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the U.S.) has decided in Citizens United that corporations should have equal rights to live human beings, the chance that we might be able to control government corruption is dwindling fast. Until we enact campaign finance reform, we will have problems getting politicians to “Just say no” to greedy Wall Street bankers and Big Business who only havwe eyes for profit when they propagandize about how government can’t do anything better or more cheaply than private enterprise. It’s not true, but Big Business has the bucks (more and higher profit margins than ever) to invest in “K” Street lawyers to supply cash to politicians for access and advertising to convince voters that their own logic doesn’t make sense.

  3. Richard Rowe says:

    What is the date of this report? I don’t understand why, when such information is time sensitive, this report does not have an easily identifiable publication date.

    • http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/06/23/us-usa-healthcare-last-idUSTRE65M0SU20100623:

      U.S. scores dead last again in healthcare study
      by Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, dated Wednesday, Jun 23, 2010 4:48pm EDT

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system, according to a report released on Wednesday.

      The United States ranked last when compared to six other countries — Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Fund report found.

  4. acai order says:

    USA must be in the top 5 country in the world at health care system, buy our leaders are interested in wars not medical situation. Phenomenal post! Insightful and entertaining as always!

  5. drcmgonzalez says:

    Laura…Good article/blog (blarticle) and both comments have merit. Although having a higher survival rate is good it does NOT excite me more than preventing cancers and most other diseases in the first place. Our “healthcare” system is really “sickcare” as they still promote early detection as prevention. Many women fall prey to the scare tactics and pressure into their yearly mammograms which many doctors and scientists say those mammograms are contributing and causing MORE breast cancers. There are better and safer ways to detect(MRI’s, Thermography) and again PREVENT. Dr. C. M. Gonzalez http://www.HangingOutForTheHealthOfit.com

  6. Let me point out

    I have to agree with many of your statements. The capitalization of health care is great for the providers but not the users.

    1. Canada’s Health system is ranked 30th in the world, seldom is France or Italy mentioned.

    2. Most all services are provided in Canada by private service, or entities, most doctors work for themselves, in a fee per visit basis. The system is funded by the public; this is the half-truth. It is has public and half private already.

    If they were to pay doctors an annual fee per patient, ie salary, the ‘business of disease’ would end.

    Hospitals ?

    1. Inefficient ?

    Hospitals, appear to bill the system for services. They have alot, however not efficiently used.

    The problem with the entire current system is that it is revenue based, and the sicker you get the more money ‘they make’….(it is not true public, nor non-profit health care.

    You have to look at the reality of the situation, and not what they claim.

    For example I went to the emergency, 5 times a few weeks ago, with a nose bleed. I had gone once in December.

    Only after I persisted in asking why the bleed did not stop did I get the answer that Advil, I used once in December, and January was responsible for shutting down my bloods coagulation process.

    Had they found that in December I would not have taken it is January. Five additional admissions in January and 5 pints of blood, while waiting in the emergency, all the time the ‘specialist’ was never called.

    Canada’s Health system, is a ‘free’ merry go round system…it has its merits, and its problems…mostly systemic.

    I would prefer my doctor makes more money when i am cured, or healthy, under the current system, its visit, question, visit, question, test, visit, question, test, visit, question, test, visit, treatment, visit, treatment, visit, treatment…in some cases it gets it right the first time, but it is based on disease.

    The half-truth is Canada’s health system is always compared to that of the USA, and not to France and Italy.



    A true socialized health care system, usually results in better preventative care, better cures, less cost, and more money to spend on capitalistic products like GMC, Ford, Apple, Microsoft products.

  7. Pingback: Fact-Checking Herman Cain: “We have the best healthcare in the world” – Politics Anonymous

  8. anonymous says:

    are you a jew or Muslim-hater or something? seriously, all that Muslim, Palestine-Israel talk was retarded. i am not a Muslim and it’s obvious that all that trash you wrote was both one-sided and unlogical. i have read the quran and all it say about jihad is to protect Islam. on the contrary, it spreads and promotes all types of good. i have even thought about converting! also, everyone, even the Zionists know that it is then who are brutally murdering dozens of Palestineans daily! so yeah, get your facts right!

    • You responded to an article about healthcare. Which of my blog pieces are you responding to?

      I am not a Jew or Muslim-hater, but I recognize and understand how religious works can be perverted and exploited to justify a politcal agenda or even a tarrorist plot. It is the perversion of religion to these ends that I am against.

      And it is fruitless to try to negotiate with terrorist-based organizations with the idea that peace can be achieved. In this case, the Muslim agenda is the eradication of Israel and achieving the world caliphate. There is no room for peace in that agenda.And, for that reason, Israel has no peace partner and a peace agreement is virtually impossible to chieve so long as Hamas is elected and supported by the Palestinian people. It is their choice.

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  10. Ruth Bonnett says:

    “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.” You must be kidding about this…have you ever been on Medicaid? Because I have and as a person with several chronic illnesses, this is, by far the worst coverage I have ever had…do you have any idea what the states pay providers for their services compared to private insurance??? Might have something to so with why soooo many providers will NOT accept Medicaid. Bad idea…oh, and BTW, you are incorrect about Obamacare no longer penalizing for pre-existing conditions…that only applies to children and unless it is slated to take effect at some later date, it’s not in there.

    • Yes, I have been on Medicaid in Alabama. The problem was not the coverage, but the cut-off at less than $600/month. I am a diabetic with a heart condition, thyroid condition, COPD, esophagitis, diverticulitis, colitis, IBS — you name it, I probably have it (or have had it)! The problem we have with Medicaid is that it is STATE-RUN and FEDERALLY FUNDED rather than FEDERALLY RUN.

      The best solution is a version of Medicare/Medicaid for all: single-payer, universal coverage managed by the federal government, which gets rid of health insurance companies and their profiteers forever.

    • The pre-existing provisions CURRENTLY in effect apply to children. But remember, most of Obamacare has not been implemented yet — most of it will take effect in 2014. That is why it is so ridiculous to hear critics of the law go on and on about how it isn’t (currently) working, since most of it isn’t in effect and there is no way to measure whether it is (currently) working or not.

      Republican governors are determined to set the law up for failure at the expense of their constituents. I find that abhorrent. When our political system has gotten to the point where the only goal is to score political points rather than serve the best interests of the people, we have lost our way.

  11. TCF says:

    Forgive me for being skeptical, but could you remind me of an entity that the government runs well? All I can think of is the U.S. Mail System, DMV, and the TSA.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Laura Ward says:

      Uh yea. The United States armed forces, best in the world! The US Dept of Energy, supporting one of the most complex energy infrastructures in the world. Look at what has happened after federal deregulation of the airlines. What a mess, they are going bankrupt right and left, constantly adding more fees and charges to the point where the average person cannot tell exactly what amount they are going to pay for their flight after all the fees.
      The federal government does NOT run the DMV, those are run by states.
      Although you may find fault with the TSA, I still challenge you to find a better, more secure one in the world. Just because you have complaints with a federal agency does not mean it is not one of the best in the world. It just means it is not perfect, and we all would agree to that.

      • Thanks, Laura, all excellent points.

      • TCF says:

        Uh yea. The United States Armed Forces is the best in the world because of the brave men and women who serve, not because is is government run! My family has fought in three wars and to give credit to politicians that sit behind desks and have never served one day is an insult. Let me put it another way to you that you might understand. Let take two top basketball teams: the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat. Sure the coaches have some effect on the team as a whole, but it is very limited. Try replacing Labron James and Kobe Bryant and the rest of the teams with 5 foot white guys and tell me how far those teams would go in the playoffs.

        Same coaches, a team made up of 5 foot whites guys equals last place. Same goes for our military.

        • The government interviewed, accepted, trained, equipped and organized the armed forces. If we had substituted the word “company” for “government,” you would be claiming that the “company” was a good one. It is your ideological bias that keeps you from acknowledging truth.

    • You pick three struggling government entities, for sure, but remember the TSA is contracted to private entities, the U.S.P.S. has, for hundreds of years, been the envy of the world until the age of technology where FedEx and UPS can outspend — and also OUTCHARGE — them, and the DMV is a state-run agency, not federally run.

      State-run agencies are notoriously corrupt and rife with “pay for play” political appointees. There has been more focus on the federal government, so when this occurs there we often notice it more, at least on a national level, but that doesn’t mean it occurs more often or has anywhere near the level of corruption as state-run and local government agencies. It depends on where you live. In Alabama, the state and local government is notoriously corrupt. The prosecution of a former governor and how the Bush administration intervened in the prosecution and appeals is a perfect example.

      Because Republicans are anti-government crporatist ideologues that are focused on marginalizing government in an effort to enable unlimited corporate power and control (their benefactors), it is not surprising that Republican administrations attempt to appoint inept and corrupt executives to run the hated agencies into the ground whenever possible. I think back to Reagan appointing the corrupt HUD Secretary Pierce (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_administration_scandals) or GWB’s “you’re doing a great job, Brownie!” FEMA Director during Katrina, or the revolving door between Watt Street and the U.S. Treasury during almost every administration, but particularly during the GWB administration, and the cozy relationship between the regulators whose poor oversight of the rig in the Gulf is in part responsible for the BP oil disaster.

      There is no question that all levels of government can do better, but it is not that government is inherently corrupt and ineffective. It is because for-profit corporations and our POLITICAL SYSTEM that they fund, whose candidates they hand-pick and groom for office long before the first primary ever counts its first vote, etc., are all focused on obtaining and engineering the protection of the concentration of power at the top among the wealthy and already powerful. THAT is the problem. And the narrative can convinces the middle and lower classes that government is the problem only seeks to further entrench and empower those at the top while it transfers all the wealthy from the bottom to the top and, consequently, all the power at the top.

      The creation of the social conservative is not something that the power structure cares about, that is merely a means of misdirecting the middle class Republican’s attention to issues hat concern them and gaining their support dishonestly. The Republican Party has enjoyed cloture-proof majorities in the Senate and majorities in the House and control of the White House for many years since Reagan took office under the first social conservative power grab, but yet we still don’t have Roe v. Wade overturned. Why? Besides the fact that most Americans do not support criminalizing abortion? The reason is that the politicians serve their benefactors, the wealthy and powerful, and their benefactor’s agenda, of which abortion is not even on the list, NOT the socially conservative voters that voted them into office. Oh, sure, they make speeches and feign outrage just often enough to calm their constituents, but no real action….

      Government does work. The Constitution is a living document for a reason: our Framers knew that society changed, ideas changed (the ideas of the individualists gave birth to the reinvorgation of the concept of democracy, in fact, and in their time), and that in order for the government which was borne out of that document to endure, it must be able to adapt.

      But now we have ideologues that have convinced some Americans that compromise is evil, which means government cannot work because our politicians cannot work together in compromise if it means that their constituents will not vote for them based on the idea that they were not to compromise their values. This intractable situation creates an environment where government is set up for failure because it can’t function. And that is not the fault of government, it is the fault of the idiots who think that compromise is evil and that government is the problem, when the reality is that THEY have been duped by manipulators who have convinced them to work against their own best interests.

      That is politics, not government, at work today.

      But there are many successful programs that show government can work. Social Security is one. It is, by far, the most popular social program to date. And the only reason the Social Security Trust Fund is in jeopardy is because Congress gave itself permission to spend the Trust Fund to offset its own deficit spending instead of going to the taxpayers to increase taxes as it should have. Then, when that didn’t work, Congress borrowed money rather than tell the taxpayers they had to fork up the money to pay for the costs. Now taxpayers are used to getting all their favorite government programs on the company credit card and are not accustomed to the pain of either making hard choices before the fact or coughing up the taxes to pay for needed programs, so they feel duped NOW when the reality is they were duped long BEFORE. When GWB passed the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit in an effort to quell support for real healthcare reform WITHOUT HAVING ANY TAX INCREASES OR SPENDING CUTS TO PAY FOR THIS BENEFIT, no one complained. Congress just borrowed more money and swept it under the rug. When GWB started two OFF-BOOK (meaning unbudgeted) wars on the country’s credit card, we were told it was a matter of imminent danger. It was only later that we found out that the trillions we spent getting rid of Saddam Hussein (certainly, a bad guy) and empowering Iran in the process were based on lies and deliberate distortions of fact. And we never managed to get Osama bin Laden — the original reason for all our high stress and huge expansion of government in the Department of Homeland Security and the relinquishing of our constitutional protections through the Patrio Act and changes to FISA — until, that is, Obama got him with a small team of SEALS. And found out that the Pakistanis who we had been giving bllions in aid to in order to get their “help” were protecting OBL all along.

      It’s not that government does not work or can’t work. It’s that government does not work and can’t work with Republicans in charge.

      Medicare has worked beautifully in spite of the fact that it constantly battles drug companies and insurance companies that drive the price of healthcare up. Obama did make a huge mistake in not allowing a single-payer universal healthcare option to be voted upon or included in the healthcare legislation. He is not good at negotiating, largely because he assumes his opponents will be reasonable when evidence clearly indicates they will not. And because Congress passed clearly imperfect legislation, we have a healthcare law that will struggle to survive. And Big Insurance and Big Pharma are willing, once again, to invest billions, if necessary, to kill any chance of success the law might have even in its current state, as they did during Hillary’s first attempt during the Clinton years.

      But Medicare for All is the answer to the first step toward a good healthcare system with controlled healthcare costs. We don’t have that in the current law, but at least we do have the improvements of outlawing pre-existing illness denial of coverage, which will save many lives and prevent patients with chronic illnesses from experiencing worsening of their symptoms. And we have lifted the cap of lifetime coverage for children with chronic illnesses, which will serve to lengthen their lives and improve their long-term health.

      If you think all regulations are bad, then you need to spend some time in a third-world country where corporations — many of them AMERICAN-OWNED — have set up operation without any environmental controls or health and safety regulations to protect their workers. In places like China, India and many countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and South America, the companies enjoy slave labor for the price of greasing the right palm, which they happily do if it means improving their profit margin. You see, in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court annointing corporations with personhood, corporaqtions and “the [mythical] free Market” do not have a conscience, collectively or individually. They only know profit and loss. And profits are always the object and supercede humanity and humane and responsible behavior. Corporate “citizenship” is a concept lost to the fifties, sixties and seventies in U.S. history. With the onset of conservatismk, corporations now have the unlimited power to control our elections, long before the first vote is cast, through their unlimited money. Their voice is louder because they can outspend us, which weakens our voices individually and collectively.

      But work in Manuila, Philippines, for six months and experience breathing in red air and watching garbage float in the rivers and waterways. Observe people living in carboard huts in the median of the streets with barrels to collect rain for drinking water, bathing in the polluted rivers and relieving themselves on the banks of the same rivers. Observe them setting fire to 12-foot high mountains of garbage in the streets that goes uncollected because an actor-turned-politician got corrupted by the mob and bilked the taxpayers of over 100 million dollars, housing his many mistresses in the local “palaces” (that president was ousted during my stay there and eventually got the death penalty). Watch (but hold onto your purse tightly when you do) gangs of young, starving children comb the streets begging — managed by adults who beat them and even sever tendons in order to cripple them because it creates more sympathy and brings them more cash from trousists.

      Then tell me how no regulations and complete capitalist corporate control of a country is where we really want to go in America.

      • TCF says:

        Since the Social Security Trust Fund is accessable to freespending politicians, I would have to argue that it is not a successful program.

  12. I would also propose that NASA, who started from nothing when JFK announced a 10-year goal to put a man on the moon, achieved its objective BEFORE the deadline. And, in the process, the spin-off technology in medicine, engineering, communications, etc., provided not only new industries, but hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process. That is a real success story.

    Once again, if you substitute “company” for NASA, you would be applauding it.

    And the new technologies that provide us power sources are being criticizine by the old-guard oil companies because they don’t work perfectly the first time. If we had adopted that attitude in the ’60s, we would have lost the space/technology race before we even started.

    New technologies take time to develop and even more time to establish a delivery system, be it a new kind of power grid or adding electric hook-ups for electric cars (as Oregon has done with its government grant) to empower cleaner power sources for transportation.

    You won’t hear about the success stories on Faux News or even on the broadcast network news programs because large corporations control the news that is reported. And, therefore, only the news that supports their bottom line is “newsworthy.”

  13. Pingback: Should Obama offer Obamaphones and free Heatlcare at our expense for votes??

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  16. Kent Cooper says:

    Well, the Veterans Administration Hospital system, government run, government financed has increasingly been cited as perhaps the best health care system in the U.S. Google “quality of Veterans Administration health care” and see for yourself. Independent sources such as the Rand Corporation give it high marks. Surveys of patients show that VA patients rank their care higher than patients rank private health care operations.

    Health care for profit has spent $5.6 billion lobbying Congress over the last ten years to protect their interests. They spent more than than any other industry and an amount equal to the next three industries’ lobbying groups.

    Private health care has the best profits money can buy.

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