Health Care Systems of other Nations

I want to bring your attention to a Frontline documentary called Sick Around the World. It is an interview, comparison/contrast of other health care systems in most assuredly capitalist nation-states.

Frontline allows all shows to be watched on line, in full. Journalist T.R. Reid documented an exceptional overview of other health care systems from capitalist economic nation-states. I hope others watch and we start analyzing health care policy proposals from an economics and populist viewpoint.

What astounded me is the lower costs that other nations have in comparison to the United States.

In the UK:

health care is provided and financed by the government through tax payments, just like the police force or the public library

Now I must ask all conservatives, why is it the police or our military are just fine and dandy to pay for with taxpayer money, or the fire department, yet when it comes to health care, somehow that is in another category, somehow bad or communist?

One thing that struck me, a series of capitalists, completely corporate driven, free market, small government conservatives(such as Switzerland), stated this principle over and over again:

Health Care is a Basic Right

So might I point out that denial of public funded health care in the United States, is not conservative, it's more philosophically selfish, greedy and plain cruel as well as economically foolish.

Where is this attitude coming from in the United States that somehow people are responsible and almost should be punished if they become ill?

Then, what about the hidden costs? When workers get sick they are not productive, family members are stressed, trying to take care of their loved one, people avoid going to the Doctor for fear a bad diagnosis might cancel their health insurance.

I'll leave you with this quote, in the comments section on the Frontline website and a link to single-payer health care legislation H.R. 676:

Our national experience with regulation, currently characterized by the airline safety fiasco and since the Medicare 2003 reform, payment of private insurers an average of 13% more then regular Medicare per patient expenses, raises questions as to our ability to effectively regulate the private insurance sector in health care. This concern makes a responsible single payer system such as Medicare for everyone, a preferable program for universal coverage as compared to other proposals maintaining the high health insurance

David L Rabin MD
Chevy Cahse, MD

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I recommend you travel to Angry Bear...

and review all his posts on 'health-care' in the U.S. as compared to other nations. He's got a series that starts here:

http://angrybear.blogspot.com/2005/04/real-crisis.html

next:

http://angrybear.blogspot.com/2005/04/health-care-in-us-and-world-part-i...

He goes on for a total of 7 posts. All found on the mid-left column here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060826010416/http://angrybear.blogspot.com/

Truly eye-opening.

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'When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck to crush him.'

Why we don't have Universal Healthcare

I used to think that the reason we don't have "medicare for all" is that the health insurance industry held too much sway, but that once other industries realize how much they stand to gain, they'd demand a government program -- the insurance industry be damned.

So what's going on?

1. Ideology. Never underestimate the plutocracy's sincere belief in their own fairy tales. Occassionally, you find a bright bulb like Warren Buffet who knows all the free-market stuff is bullshit. But most of the ruling class isn't that smart. The rich are fluffed by a well-paid clique of court flatterers -- think-tankers, academics and journalists -- who propound the fable that the rich have risen to the top in a free and fair competition.

2. Solidarity. What makes union squabbles so sad - witness the CNA-SEIU fight -- is the contrast with capitalists who come together when it counts.

3. Unions. When unions have to fight just to keep their medical benefits in the newest contract, they're less likely to squawk about higher wages, benefits, retirement, safety or hours.

4. Dependency. Union or no, most of us are tied to our healthcare by our employer. Loosing healthcare benefits is something you think about before you tell your boss to shove it.

Now, I'm not dismissing the role the insurance industry continues to play in keeping Universal Healthcare off the table. They do most of the heavy lifting -- as they should since they have the most to loose. But there's more to it.

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