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The rest of the industrialized world has universal health care

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Of the more than 1.5 million bankruptcies filed in the U.S. each year, about half are a result of medical bills; of those, three-quarters of filers had health insurance.

Businesses are suffering too. Insurance premiums increased 73 percent between 2000 and 2005, and per capita costs are expected to keep rising. The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) estimates that, without reform, national health care spending will double over the next 10 years. The NCHC is not some fringe advocacy group -- its co-chairs are Congressmen Robert D. Ray (R-IA) and Paul G. Rogers (D-FL), and it counts General Electric and Verizon among its members.

Employers who want to offer employee health care benefits can't compete with low-road employers who offer none. Nor can they compete with companies located in countries that offer national health insurance.

The cost of corporate bureaucracy

Where is the money going? An estimated 15 cents of each private U.S. health care dollar goes simply to shuffling the paperwork. The administrative costs for our patched-together system of HMO's, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, and government programs are nearly double those for single-payer Canada. It's not because Americans are inherently less efficient than Canadians -- our publicly funded Medicare system spends under five cents per budget dollar on administrative overhead. And the Veterans Administration, which functions like Britain's socialized medical system, spends less per patient but consistently outranks private providers in patient satisfaction and quality of care.

But in the private sector, profits and excessive CEO pay are added to the paperwork and bureaucracy. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry averages a 17 percent profit margin, against three percent for all other businesses. In the health care industry, million-dollar CEO pay packages are the rule, with some executives pulling down more than $30 million a year in salary and amassing billion-dollar stock option packages.

Do those costs really make the difference?

Studies conducted by the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Budget Office, and various states have concluded that a universal, single-payer health care system would cover everyone -- including the millions currently without insurance -- and still save billions.

Enormous amounts of money are changing hands in the health-industrial complex, but little is going to the front line providers -- nurses, nurse practitioners, and home health care workers who put in long shifts for low pay. Many even find they must fight to get access to the very health facilities they serve.

Doctors complain of burnout as patient loads increase. They spend less time with each patient as they spend more time doing insurance company mandated paperwork and arguing with insurance company bureaucrats over treatments and coverage.

....

Although you'd never know it from the American media, the number of Canadians who would trade their system for a U.S.-style health care system is just eight percent. Again, the public dialogue proceeds from a perplexing place. Dissatisfied Canadians or Britons are much talked about. But there's little mention of the satisfaction level of Americans. The Commonwealth Fund's survey, for instance, shows that, in 2005, 42 percent of Americans doubted whether they could get quality health care.

What is the obstacle?

With all the support and all the good reasons to adopt universal health care, why don't we have it yet? Why do politicians refuse to talk about the solution people want? It could be the fact that the health care industry, the top spender on Capitol Hill, spent $183.3 million on lobbying just in the second half of 2005, according to PoliticalMoneyLine. com. And in the 2003-2004 election cycle, they spent $123.7 million on election campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Politicians dread the propaganda barrage and political fallout that surrounded the failed Clinton health care plan. But in the years since, health care costs have outpaced growth in wages and inflation by huge margins, Americans have joined the ranks of the uninsured at the rate of 2 million each year, and businesses are taking a major competitiveness hit as they struggle to pay rising premiums.

See the Health Care Options at a Glance chart comparing Socialized vs Single-Payer vs Nonprofit Multi-Payer vs Corporate Health Care.

Sarah van Gelder is Executive Editor of YES! Magazine. Doug Pibel is Managing Editor of YES!

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With all the support and all the good reasons to adopt universal health care, why don't we have it yet? Why do politicians refuse to talk about the solution people want? It could be the fact that the health care industry, the top spender on Capitol Hill, spent $183.3 million on lobbying just in the second half of 2005, according to PoliticalMoneyLine. com. And in the 2003-2004 election cycle, they spent $123.7 million on election campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

There's the major part of the problem there, plus add in the salaries that most doctors make here, and there's no way any of them are going to be willing to give that up. So we, the consumers, suffer the cost, and/or possibility that we'll have to at some time sell everything we own, or declare bankruptcy just to have a bit of surgery, or Gods forbid, long term care from some nasty disease.

Its just not right IMO.

Sure, there are problems in Canada and the UK with their healthcare systems, but they really are easily fixed if they'd just (I'm talkin Canada here of course) allow immirant doctors to at least write an equivalency exam rather than have to endure another 4 years of university :P The doctor shortage, and then the long waits for care, would dwindle and everyone would be happy.

Stupid bureaucrats are too tied up in red tape to see there is a ready solution tho.

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yeah, and what type of care do you get from the Va, bush admin has repeatedly cut the budget there..

if you retire you get to go to the military hospitals. the va is for those who didn't retire at 20+

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yeah, and what type of care do you get from the Va, bush admin has repeatedly cut the budget there..

if you retire you get to go to the military hospitals. the va is for those who didn't retire at 20+

good point...i stand corrected

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yeah, and what type of care do you get from the Va, bush admin has repeatedly cut the budget there..

if you retire you get to go to the military hospitals. the va is for those who didn't retire at 20+

good point...i stand corrected

that's why i told steven to do 20 ;)

of course, that could be a good documentary....steven in the military :whistle:

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yeah, and what type of care do you get from the Va, bush admin has repeatedly cut the budget there..

if you retire you get to go to the military hospitals. the va is for those who didn't retire at 20+

good point...i stand corrected

that's why i told steven to do 20 ;)

of course, that could be a good documentary....steven in the military :whistle:

:lol: I'm not good with authority figures...that's for sure, Charles. :P But believe it or not, my childhood dream was to join the Air Force and be a pilot - contemplated attending the AFA. I was even in CAP (Civil Air Patrol) and a boy scout. My grandfather (Dad's father) was stationed in France during WW1 and got gassed by the Germans - we still have his purple heart. My father served in the Navy and 3 of my brothers all served (2 Army, 1 Air Force), one of them recently came back from volunteering in Iraq. The military would have been a great career but I'm just not cut out for being a 'yessir' kinda guy.

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yeah, and what type of care do you get from the Va, bush admin has repeatedly cut the budget there..

if you retire you get to go to the military hospitals. the va is for those who didn't retire at 20+

good point...i stand corrected

that's why i told steven to do 20 ;)

of course, that could be a good documentary....steven in the military :whistle:

:lol: I'm not good with authority figures...that's for sure, Charles. :P But believe it or not, my childhood dream was to join the Air Force and be a pilot - contemplated attending the AFA. I was even in CAP (Civil Air Patrol) and a boy scout. My grandfather (Dad's father) was stationed in France during WW1 and got gassed by the Germans - we still have his purple heart. My father served in the Navy and 3 of my brothers all served (2 Army, 1 Air Force), one of them recently came back from volunteering in Iraq. The military would have been a great career but I'm just not cut out for being a 'yessir' kinda guy.

I'd like to see Steven (slimey wog) join the marines or navy and become a shellback in the 'crossing the line' ceremony.

http://www.pbase.com/germando/image/25247821

25247821.Shellback2.jpg

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:lol: I'm not good with authority figures...that's for sure, Charles. :P But believe it or not, my childhood dream was to join the Air Force and be a pilot - contemplated attending the AFA. I was even in CAP (Civil Air Patrol) and a boy scout. My grandfather (Dad's father) was stationed in France during WW1 and got gassed by the Germans - we still have his purple heart. My father served in the Navy and 3 of my brothers all served (2 Army, 1 Air Force), one of them recently came back from volunteering in Iraq. The military would have been a great career but I'm just not cut out for being a 'yessir' kinda guy.

I right there with you on the authority figures !

Believe it or not my mother worked with the CAP during the gulf war...MY MOM!

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Every time someone brings this up, instead of intelligent debate we get this ...

Ahhh Social Health Care what a great Socialist idea.

Tell ya what, if your anti-social get off the internet. Its subsidized big time. Why not stop flying, driving, heating your home too.. All socialized systems to one degree or another. Heck, 50% of medical care in the US is allready socialized. Whats the other 50% going to do? Put a few insurance companies out of business? Geez, Id hate to see that. After all, Insurance companies have the right to tell people they are not covered and to go to the worst doctor in town and then pay their VP's million dollar bonuses becaused they saved the company a few bucks. Private healthcare, sure is great aint it? I guess if you can afford about 5K / month or so and have a couple of mil in the bank in case of disaster its just dandy.

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Every time someone brings this up, instead of intelligent debate we get this ...
Ahhh Social Health Care what a great Socialist idea.
Tell ya what, if your anti-social get off the internet. Its subsidized big time. Why not stop flying, driving, heating your home too.. All socialized systems to one degree or another. Heck, 50% of medical care in the US is allready socialized. Whats the other 50% going to do? Put a few insurance companies out of business? Geez, Id hate to see that. After all, Insurance companies have the right to tell people they are not covered and to go to the worst doctor in town and then pay their VP's million dollar bonuses becaused they saved the company a few bucks. Private healthcare, sure is great aint it? I guess if you can afford about 5K / month or so and have a couple of mil in the bank in case of disaster its just dandy.

Exactly!

If the market would be able to demonstrate that it can work in this arena, I'd be perfectly fine with a market approach. Only, the private industry here has sufficiently demonstrated that it is incapable of offering this service effectively and efficiently. It just can't do it. We spend the most per capita on health care and get the least in return (see the millions w/o coverage and appropriate care). So let's do it as a public service and lift the fcuking burden off the private sector already.

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Every time someone brings this up, instead of intelligent debate we get this ...

Ahhh Social Health Care what a great Socialist idea.

Tell ya what, if your anti-social get off the internet. Its subsidized big time. Why not stop flying, driving, heating your home too.. All socialized systems to one degree or another. Heck, 50% of medical care in the US is allready socialized. Whats the other 50% going to do? Put a few insurance companies out of business? Geez, Id hate to see that. After all, Insurance companies have the right to tell people they are not covered and to go to the worst doctor in town and then pay their VP's million dollar bonuses becaused they saved the company a few bucks. Private healthcare, sure is great aint it? I guess if you can afford about 5K / month or so and have a couple of mil in the bank in case of disaster its just dandy.

Don't forget also our national defense is socialized as well. ;) People who think government can't manage things such as healthcare never once question government's capacity to manage the military - even when there's plenty of evidence they bungle that one too. Hell, why don't we privatize that?

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