March 23, 2010

Americans Decry Universal Health Care as They Settle for a Non-compromise

Okay - the big news is that the United States of America, under the leadership of their first non-white president, passed a health care bill to offer expanded medical care to the American people. I admit I don't know, yet, what it all means but I am disgusted by the vitriol surrounding this piece of legislation.

The amount of anger rising out of American citizens is stunning! I can (almost) understand the Republican party screaming about it. It runs contrary to their stated positions but poor people ... people who, themselves, don't buy their own health insurance, people who are already beneficiaries of public health care/Medicaid ... why would they rail against it? At least a proportion of these people will be entirely unaffected by any possible increase in taxes so ... are they concerned that they will loose some of the free medical care they currently enjoy?

I further wonder, since when did health care become an issue of color? Why is President Obama being attacked, over this, for the color of his skin? And who dreamt up this snippet of insanity, "First it's health care - then it's communism?" I would like to say, "Who ever dreamed that up is insane." But, in fact, in my view this is not insanity. Rather, it is a beautiful lie constructed to discredit what is an attempt at one of the most socially progressive steps taken, in the United States of America, since the abolition of slavery and then segregation. A lot of people, including elected representatives, battled against abolition as well. Look, America still stands strong and proud as a bastion of electoral democracies. Of course, we may look north to America's neighbor, Canada. Raging communists on America's doorstep? I doubt it. One might say Canada is a bit more socialist than the United States but hardly a communist neighbor!

Is this health care legislation really going to have any significant impact on taxes? Taxes will rise (WILL rise) regardless of any actions. Government employees want to increase their standard of living - want raises - just like anyone else! That money will come from somewhere and that somewhere is the American tax payer. Taxes will increase - regardless of health care.

I heard one argument that went something like this: "We already have free health care. If you're sick and need help and are without insurance you stand in a separate line in the hospital and you will receive treatment." So my question is, "If it is actually the case that free health care is already being delivered, would it not better to have it structured so that there is a clear and accountable path to the flow of money out of the government and into medical care facilities rather than funds being, essentially, misappropriated to care for these uninsured people?"

Going a step further, Associate Press (AP) reported that President Obama said, "I want to thank every member of Congress who stood up tonight with courage and conviction to make health care reform a reality, I know this wasn't an easy vote for a lot of people. But it was the right vote." The problem is that this, simply, was not a very courageous step. It was not the "right" vote. It was a cowardly compromise brought on by selfishness. It is patently dishonest (in other words, "a lie") to call it otherwise. It is a weak, peace-meal step that still leaves five percent (over 15 million people!) without coverage.

AP also reported Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, as saying "We will be joining those who established Social Security, Medicare and now, tonight, health care for all Americans," What an absurd little lie - ignoring the 15 million citizens still without coverage.

Cable News Network (CNN), in June of 2009, reported that 60 percent of all bankruptcies were a result of medical expenses. Can the fact that the United States is one of the only industrialized nations not offering universal health care have anything to do with this? This is hardly a demonstration of affordable health care.

What affect would universal health care have had? I can cite only a few examples.
1) Some auto manufacturing has stayed in Canada while being lost in the United States because in spite of a higher tax rate in Canada employees are still less expensive, in part, because of the Canadian public health care program.
2) A major Canadian hospital has a staff of approximately 24 in the billing department. A hospital of comparable size, in the United States must carry a staff of about 850 to handle billing. That's over 3,500 percent of the staff - more than 35 times the number of people for the billing department alone!
3) 30 percent of all health care premiums paid by insured Americans currently go to administrative expenses.

The Examiner (examiner.com) reported, on August 3, 2009, that of the 30 OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations - the United States, one of only three countries without Universal Health Care, ranks a stunning 25th (Not such an impressive record) in infant mortality and only 22nd in life expectancy. Does this suggest that 27 of those OECD countries including Switzerland, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom (England) are raging communist states?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) these United States of American rank 37th in overall performance and 72nd in overall level of health of the 191 nations included in a 2000 study

Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama was reported by the Examiner to have said, "President Obama's health care plan is the 'first step in destroying the best health care system the world has ever known.'" (What an absurd lie!)

The current American system is expensive. Under the new plan, the American system will be expensive. 15 million people will continue to be uninsured. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that most arguments against universal health care are lies - plain and simple. To say "America now has a universal health care plan" is a lie. To suggest that universal health care is a slippery slope to communism is too ridiculous to call a lie ... and if we really study the effect of going to a true universal health care program for Americans, I'd bet we would see that it would be more cost effective than the current system, that Americans would be healthier and, according to CNN, there would be a significant drop in bankruptcies.

What's the real down-side to universal health care? Finding employment for superfluous workers such as those from the bloated billing departments of hospitals and payment departments of insurers.

Unfortunately, most of the arguments against universal health care in the United States have been built on lies ... and the lies won. Too bad!

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