Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cranky about health care

Just seconds ago I watched as CNN's Wolf Blitzer questioned former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani about the struggle to get real health care reform here in the US. And this is what makes me cranky: Guliani repeats the lies that Canadian, British, and other national health care services "don't work"; that people from these countries routinely come to the US for health care; and that somehow "competition" among corporate for-profit health care providers is the key to making health care accessible and affordable for the greatest number of people.

And of course, from Wolf there's no "what is your evidence for these assertions?"

In essence, the assertion that "competition" in a "free market" is the best way to distribute an essential service like health care is a religious statement. As with Noah's Ark or the six days of Creation, no evidence is required, you're just supposed to have faith. And, as with the Creationists, no matter how much contrary evidence is offered, it makes no difference. You say the US spends more money per capita on health care than any other country, and yet doesn't even make a list of the top 25 countries in terms of overall quality of health care? No problem, even though in 2000 WHO ranked the US 37th, sandwiched between Coast Rica and Slovenia, and just ahead of Cuba.

And as I write, an anti-reform commercial is running that features the frightening prospect that if we have national health care, a "government beaurocrat" may come between us and our doctors. Oh, horrors! That just has to be worse than the corporate beaurocrats working for Blue Cross, AvMed, UnitedHeathcare, etc. that already work to ration our health care.

The fact is, eliminating the health insurance extortion industry and moving everyone in the country into an expanded Medicare would, I read somewhere, pay for itself. We could still have home and car insurance, and things like that. Health care should not be allocated through the capitalist market system. Same for higher education, but that's another post.

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