|The Problem||Cutting Costs|
|Ideology||Public vs Private Health Care|
|Christianity||Selling Public Health Care|
|Dueling Stances||Disadvantages of Public Health Care|
|Republican Motivation||Advantages of Public Health Care|
|Capitalism||Personal Bottom Line|
I believe I have the solution to the US health care crisis. The catch is American are too irrationally attached to ideologies to implement it. Yet the solutions are simple and will completely solve the problem.
Americans have been fed so much BS about health care that they are mightily confused about something that should be simple. The most important facts for Americans to know are:
Denying people the basics of life, food, water, shelter and health care is for all practical purposes attempting to impose the death penalty without trial. I think we should at least attempt to avoid doing it wherever practical.
The function of insurance companies is to make a profit. They do this by accepting premiums then refusing to pay out or refusing to continue coverage when people get sick. The paperwork doctors and hospitals must submit is mind boggling. It is the main reason American health care is so much more expensive than in other countries. It is complicated by the fact every insurance company wants it done a different way. The insurance companies give large amounts of money to politicians to make sure the patients have no legal recourse. Bill is still done largely with multipart paper forms without the efficiencies of computerisation.
Americans are so patriotic they refuse to notice they are paying 3.5 times anyone else does for health care while they enjoy the worst health in the developed world, with the worst infant mortality, even when Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, tells them the facts. They have an almost religious attachment to being ripped off. It is a Good Thing™ Americans long ago adopted indoor plumbing or they would also be claiming outhouses were superior to flush toilets.
Conservative politicians imagine they can save money by slashing public health care programs. Yes, such cuts get the expenditures off the government books and the taxpayer may save $1000 in public insurance fees, but he then has to buy those services from the private sector for $2000. The taxpayer is a net $1000 worse off, while the politician takes a bow for his brilliance.
Americans so strongly prefer to be screwed over by corporations than the government, they are willing to pay 3.5 times as much for health care as people in other developed countries. This is irrational. If the government screws you over, that money has at least some chance of being spent for your benefit. When a corporation screws you over, there is none. You would think someone who values money above all else would select his health care from whomever ripped him off least, no matter who they were. This is strikingly emotional thinking for Republicans.
Americans cross themselves at the thought of socialised public health care, but they cling tenaciously to the notion of socialised roads. They insist roads be paid for out of general revenue, unlike other nations that fund them with gas taxes or usage fees. They want those who cannot afford cars to subsidise those that can. This is socialism, American style, where the poor subsidise the rich.
Nobody ever gives a reason why the notion taking care of people panics them so much. It is a Pavlovian response trained into Americans by the corporations so they can take unfair advantage of them.
Americans loudly proclaim to subscribe to Christianity, but when it comes to being your brother’s keeper they run the other way. Americans, if they were at the well, would have gleefully stoned the woman to death, despite Jesus’s efforts to protect her.
Americans have an informal scheme for ranking the value of a life. You get points for having more years of expected remaining life. You get points for having education. You get massive numbers of points for having money. You lose points for having health problems, a disability, dark skin or a drug addiction. So the value of the life of an elderly disabled homeless person is negative. This is why Republicans are so violently opposed to universal health care. They don’t want to waste resources on lives that they consider worthless. To the Republican, it is even more important to ensure unworthies don’t get health care than it is to ensure they get it for themselves.
There is so much B.S being slung in the American health care debate, trying to turn it into a freedom issue. There are essentially two points of view:
Americans pay 3.5 times much (and for inferior care) as people in other developed nations do, nations that cover everyone. Americans can’t afford to continue avoiding public health care on childish, delusional, ideological and emotional grounds.
Republicans suffer from terminal wishful thinking. In particular, they imagine their bodies will go on and on in perfect health, never growing old or decrepit. Thus they imagine health care insurance to look after them when they eventually do get sick is not only unnecessary, it is an affront to their freedom. They crave the Philippine system where the hospital literally tosses you out onto the street the day you can no longer pay the bills. The hospital doesn’t care if expulsion is your death warrant. Republicans may think they want that, until, of course, they need medical care and their private insurance company decides they are not profitable enough to insure or too costly to pay out. This happens to everyone eventually. The only people who can feel secure under such a system have at least five million dollars socked away to deal with their own health problems and their significant other’s. Republicans are under the delusion, that real soon now, they will be that rich. That’s also why they lobby for the interests of those much richer than they are.
Republicans wring their hands at the cost of public health care. Of course it is expensive, but private care with 3.5 times even more costly. What matters is how much cheaper it is than private health care. It replaces private health care. It is not an additional expense.
There are three motives for Republicans to strenuously oppose universal health care:
The medicare debate in the USA is quite simple. The Democrats want to make sure seniors get health care, even if it means topping up the fund from general revenue. The Republicans want to get rid of medicare altogether. They want to abscond with the funds seniors have contributed over the years for their care. If the seniors don’t have money to provide their own private medical care, they should go without, even if it means dying. That is the same as an insurance company accepting premiums over the years then refusing to pay out. It is a breach of contract.
Who has the most generous publicly-funded health care in the world? US senators and congressmen who fight tooth and nail to ensure no one else gets anything anywhere near as good.
After watching the insurance companies and big pharma corrupt politicians, fund astroturf organisations and spread the most outrageous lies, I can’t imagine why any American would entrust them with their health care. After seeing the blatant corruption of senators and congressmen, I can see why people would not trust the U.S. government to have anything to do with health care. At least the people have to power the vote out badly misbehaving politicians. They have no power at all over the CEOs (Chief Executive Officers).
Everyone knows and applauds that corporations have only one concern — profitability. Why then are people so surprised when corporations lie and take serious risks with the customers’ health? Surely people know that lying is usually more profitable than telling the truth. Surely they know that risking customers’ lives costs less taking precaution.
Capitalism requires competition. When you don’t have it, the government must regulate the monopolies to prevent them from gouging and cheating the public. The health insurance companies have effectively eliminated competition by mergers and acquisitions. According to the American Medical Association, in 94% of America there is no longer a competitive market. The insurance companies have bribed American politicians to prevent them from introducing either regulation or competition from a public option. The insurance companies have a sweet deal, keeping $2 for every $1 they pass on to the doctors and are willing to tell any lie, bribe, threaten, anything to keep things as they are. What is so astounding is the way they have bamboozled so many Americans into helping them fight the competition needed for capitalism to function.
Opponents of public health care in the USA have taken the case to the supreme court claiming a law requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. I think this is nonsense. There are unchallenged laws requiring you to buy car insurance, life jackets, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, air bags, seat belts, snow shovels, lawn mowers, leaf rakes, child support and even clothes (nudity is illegal). Right wingers periodically try to pass laws forcing people to buy firearms. Whether the payment is a fee or a tax makes no difference to the consumer. The end result, either way, is money being taken involuntarily from the consumer’s pocket.
If the working poor wander about with out health care, they spread communicable diseases, especially TB (Tuberculosis) and HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) to those that have it. It is in everyone’s best interest to get everyone treated.
Republicans claim the only way to deal with spiraling health costs is to cast the poor and elderly to the wolves. This is nonsense. There many proven ways to cut the costs to 30% of what health care is costing now. Further, I offer a number of other ways.
Ways to lower the spiraling American health care costs include:
The obvious place to trim is in the last year of life when 50% of all health care dollars are spent.
Republicans claim American cannot afford healthcare for all its citizens. How peculiar! America claims to be the richest country on earth, but they cannot afford this? Every other developed nation manages to afford it. Further, other countries spend 30% of the money that Americans do. Further, even for the gold-plated prices Americans pay, they rank #42, two ranks below impoverished Cuba. So what are the Republicans really up to:
In a public health care system, there is giant pot of money, collected by the government or a government agent from insurance fees and taxes. Experts try to figure out how to allocate it to get the most bang per buck, i.e. the most lives saved, most life extension, most quality of life, most health etc. Treatment depends the patient’s medical condition and the total size of the government pot but not the patient’s bank account. Republicans think this is terrible thing. How dare the government treat everyone equally! Republicans would rather die than live under such a system. Canadians, Britons and the French could not bare the anxiety of living any other way.
In a private health care system, resources e.g. doctors, drugs, hospital beds, operating rooms, are lavished on the wealthy. Everyone else gets substandard or no care, with atrocious outcomes. The USA ranks overall #43 in IMR, two rungs below Cuba. The course of treatment chosen for any particular medical condition depends mainly on the patient’s bank account. Republicans think this is a very Good Thing™. Canadians, Britons and the French think it is good approximation of hell.
Which policy is in your best interest? If you are wealthy enough to pay your medical expenses out of pocket without strain, obviously, the private system will suit you better. If you are not, the threat of being unable to afford skyrocketing private insurance premiums, or the insurance company dumping you because you are no longer profitable (i.e seriously ill), or the insurance company refusing to reimburse you for the excuse of the week means a public scheme will better serve you. Most people are not wealthy enough to enjoy the benefits of decent private care.
American politicians enjoy a third class of care, similar to deluxe private care, but the taxpayer picks up all the bills. The people who provide the heavy duty support for politicians’ campaigns are necessarily rich. So American politicians do what benefits a relatively small percentage of voters, the wealthiest slice.
Public health care is a difficult political sell. There was a doctor strike and threats of violence when it was first introduced in Canada in Saskatchewan. Now it is as part of the national identity of Canada as apple pie is for America. Even the doctors defend it. The story is similar in Britain with its National Health. Opponents managed to confuse people they would end up paying more for health care, when in actuality universal medical care costs 1/3 of what Americans pay for private care. Granted, taxes and government fees go up, but you no longer have to pay for much more expensive private medical care. The government spends more, but the taxpayer spends less.
I lived in the USA for 6 months. Most of my friends were employed, but did not have health insurance. They never sought medical attention for anything. I was grossed out by what they would tolerate. This drags down the health of the entire nation. People without health care spread serious communicable diseases such as HIV and TB (Terabytes).
I got a murderous toothache. The American dentist insisted on $500 up front before he would do anything about the pain. He never completed the promised work and refused to give me a refund.
Another time a boulder came flying through the windscreen, causing a glass shard to stick in my friend’s eye. She was rich with fully paid up health care. We went to emergency in Portland. Before they would even look at the shard, the hospital insisted on spending a hour filling out paper forms in triplicate. The equivalent in Canada is flashing your MSP (Medical Services Plan) card in front of a scanner. My American friend, a hospital administrator, explained that all US hospitals had room upon room of clerks manually handling billing.
Every other encounter in my life with the US health care system similarly left me despising it passionately. Americans have no idea how abused they are. It is as if they had battered-wife syndrome and lie to themselves their husband is the best imaginable. The national philosophy seems to be Screw others to whatever extent you can get away with it. People accept this abuse from the health care providers as normal American behaviour.
In contrast I have had only two negative experiences with the Canadian health system, and that was with Christian fundamentalist doctors who took exception to me being gay. Most of the time when I have had any extended health care, in Canada, I went back afterwards with a gift of chocolate hedgehogs to thank the staff for taking such good care of me. Canadian health care is far from the nightmare Republicans claim it is.
|Mainly shows how well other developed countries do with their public health care systems. He left out many of the benefits because he thought Americans would not believe him. Americans are so isolated and so arrogant it never occurs to them that other countries could have already discovered the solutions to problems bedevilling America.|
|Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock|
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