Thursday, December 24, 2009

Almost There


No country in the world spends more money in total or more money per capita on Health Care than the United States of America and gets less meager results.

The highest infant mortality rate and the lowest life expectancy for openers.

America also has almost 50 million citizens with no health insurance.

But it is likely that by end of day today a Health Care Reform Bill will pass.

That's the good news.

The not-so-very-great news is that, according to a wide-ranging piece in this morning's Globe by Konrad Yakabuski, the bill is an unwieldy mess.

"It will serve to fatten insurer profits and deepen the country's budget crisis. It's not clear it will make Americans any healthier. And it certainly won't make the system any simpler."

Under the current American system, "as much as a quarter of the $2.5-trillion Americans spend on health care annually goes toward administrative costs, compared to less than 10 per cent in most developed countries with universal health coverage."

"No wonder insurance company stocks have soared as investors contemplate 30 million new insurance consumers and the absence of new competition in the form of a public health-insurance plan for Americans under 65."

I understand the Americans' long-bred and almost natural hate of government.

But the evidence is in.

Canada, England, France, Denmark, among other Western democracies have been operating single-payer, government-based universal health insurance programs with considerable success for many years now.

For the Americans to ignore this, and worse, to hiss at these successes and call them names (COMMIES! SOCIALISTS!) is childish and self-destructive.

I repeat that I can only hope that this reform, watered down and confusing at it is, might be the first step in moving an adolescent culture into maturity.

When the USA creates and supports a universal health care insurance program, we will know that a New Day has truly arrived.

2 comments:

Keith said...

from what I understand this Health Care Bill forces Americans to buy health care insurance whether they want it or not.
Even in Canada we are not forced to sign onto healthcare, unless it is a requirement through employers.
Germany has a system of private health insurers, and the government assists those that can't afford insurance. This looks like the system America is following.

Bob Broughton said...

Here's an outrage; for the wingnuts in the U.S., it isn't enough for them to kill health care in the U.S.; they want to kill it in Canada, too. From the Huffington Post: Palin Tricked By Comedian Again, Says Canada Should Drop Public Health Care (VIDEO)