Saturday, July 11, 2009

Faithfully Oblivious

Americans put far too much faith in “the free market” to make economic decisions about important public matters. We prefer the so-called democracy of many free individuals making their own choices and thereby enhancing the public good. Far better that, to most American minds, than letting some government bureaucrat fuck it all up by making “one size fits all”, hidebound decisions that are rightly the province of the individual. It’s a nice story, so very much part of our national myth. As long as Americans believe it, this nation will see no fundamental change. Looking at the current economy, long-term finances, foreign policy and a host of quality of life issues, I see the need for fundamental change all around. I do not find the resistance to change at all comforting.

Case in point: reforming health care. The US has a system of private-for-profit health care that is capable of incredible feats yet does not serve the public interest. Despite our Best in the World Health Care, we have some of the most dismal public health indicators in the developed world. Indicators in some inner city neighborhoods are more like Third World nations. Costs are exorbitant—very few Americans would have any hope of paying out of pocket for a major procedure. The system still functions for many of us but that number lessens with each lost job.

So the solution is to fine people for not purchasing health insurance and require employers to pay for their employee’s health care, all the while preserving the profits of an industry rich enough to pour millions of dollars into lobbying and advertising to keep those profits in place. And they call it preserving “choice” for health care consumers. Fucking balderdash! Choice would be a single payer system divorced from employment status. Not only could the worker choose providers and services, he or she could choose to leave an abusive workplace without fear of jeopardizing their entire economic future. If you don’t trust a public single payer system to establish practice norms and pharmaceutical formularies, how is it you are willing to trust a for-profit insurance company to do the same? Single payer makes perfect sense.

And yet, single payer is off the table in the current debate. Even Obama, who recognizes the logic single payer, isn’t willing to spend political capital fighting for it. In the current political climate, the best we can hope for is a public option and even that idea has induced howls of outrage from the free marketeers. So we will get “health care reform” that fits our comforting American myth even as it ignores the state of our public health and our economy. Profits will be preserved, just like they were in 1993.

postscript

I wrote the above a few days ago. Today I see the chatter is about taxing the rich to pay for health care reform. That seems reasonable to me. I will gladly pay additional taxes on income over $250K if it means I can live in a society that ensures access to an important public good, just like we do with essential infrastructure and utilities. Another option would be to look at the incredibly bloated national security budget and think hard about much more costly an empire is than actual national defense.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMERICA’S NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY!

It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.

STAND READY AMERICA TO SEIZE CONTROL OF YOUR NATIONAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.

We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

Progressive democrats the Tri-Caucus and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust government-run public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and request that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

If President Obama has to declare a NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY to rescue the American people from our healthcare crisis, he will need all the sustained support you can give him. STICK WITH HIM! He’s doing a brilliant job.

THIS IS THE BIG ONE!

THE BATTLE OF GOOD Vs EVIL!

Join the fight.

Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

(http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/publicoption) (http://www.actblue.com/page/healthcareheroes)

God Bless You

Jacksmith – WORKING CLASS

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Maggie said...

This DOES relate to the blog, just get to the end.....

Today, July 14, there is coverage all over the place regarding Hannah Clark, young child with a massively failing heart, and the amazingly inspired heart surgeon who performed a never-before piggy-back donor heart implantation. After 10 ten years with the donor heart, her own heart healed itself!, something thought not possible. The doctors involved had believed it would work, however. Smart huh?

At eight months old, Hannah had severe heart failure, and by two years old, having waited for a match, the heart problems had progressed to involve the lungs. Instead of trying a horrendous heart-lung transplant, surgeons worked out a plan to piggy-back the donor heart. Wow. However, transplant drugs to suppress immune function allowed a cancer to start, and she had chemotherapy to stop that. At 12 she had the donor heart removed, she is now 16.

Oh yeah, and where was this? IN BRITAIN WITH THAT DAMN UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM!!! Extreme, leading edge surgery, constant oversite, timely cancer care, hospital, doctors, and after care for almost 16 YEARS.

Healthcare LIARS try to present British healthcare as so bad, yet we have people dying in emergency rooms.

DON'T LET THEM KEEP SPREADING THE LIES ABOUT UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE!

8:40 AM  

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