Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Awful health care system attacks.

I just learned that the monthly premium on my health insurance is going to be raised by $25 dollars per month. And the other day, when I took my girlfriend to the E.R, I saw more of our health care horror. Because she was a "workman's comp" case they ordered an X-ray. The Doctor actually directly said that if she were paying out of pocket or with insurance he would not order the X-ray as it would cost too much!!!!!

This is the risk you run for having a privatized health insurance. If we had a single payer system, do you think the government would be capable of raising our taxes $25 dollars a month?! Do you think that people would be denied basic tests like an X-ray because it was too pricey?! Does this happen in Canada, England, or France????!!!!!

At least if the government is in charge of Health care and does such a thing, we have the power to vote them out of office. We cannot do that with the CEOs of these private companies. When you privatize you don't put resources in the hands of kindly people with our interests at heart; rather, you put resources in the hands of unaccountable despots. Despots who care only about making profit and cannot be removed from power by our vote.

If you doubt that privatization results in this kind of tyranny, do a little history of the fire department. Research what it was like in this country when the firefighting industry was privatized. Then, once you have done that, go sit in an ER, go battle your insurance company to pay for your surgery or your prescriptions, and finally have them raise your rates . . . . JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN!!!!

There are those who celebrate our health-care system as "free" and representing "fundamental human rights". I do not choose to recognize being the victim of robbery, fraud and deceit as cause for rejoicing and celebration. If that is freedom, I think I'll pass.

This is not "free-enterprise;" it is a despotic health-care fascism. The idea that one's health is a commodity to be left in the hand of private companies and robber barons, is an atrocity. This is an affront to justice, morality, and basic human decency

Enough talking! It's time for more than health care reform, it is time for a new system. Time for a National Health Plan. Enough of this grotesque, absurd, and inhuman violation of our basic right to health care coverage!!!


  1. I think it's interesting you tagged this entry with "human rights." I also believe in a universal health care system, but assert that affordable health care is a privledge and not a right. This is because a universal health care system will be a detriment to those who already have the ability to purchase private insurance plans. The quality of health care for those people will go down, i.e. waiting months for surgery and lines to get into the doctor's office. I believe a right is not something that will benefit some while harming others, whereas a privledge is.

  2. I can see the concern. In Canada, for instance, there are absurdly long waits for certain procedures - e.g. gastric bypass.

    Obviously that is not desirable. But, The U.S.A currently ranks behind other western countries that have national Health Care systems, according to the "World Health Report"

    I do agree with you that quality of care is important. But what concerns me even more is basic coverage. Private companies won't insure people with various "pre-conditions" - a long list of ailements, often deny people the care they need, and - as I learned by mail today - can simply raise your premium because they feel like it.

    But even worse is the 44-47 million (figures vary) that are not insured at all and the 16 million who are underinsured.

    I will have to say Health coverage is a right we ought to be guaranteed. At least I think that if Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights than so must be basic health care coverage? As you wisely pointed out in your post about aging, quality of life is very important, and how can we have a good quality of life without health care coverage?

    Again however, I agree with you about the long waits and fear also the decrease of quality. I wonder if we could combine universal coverage with shorter waits and efficiency? I think it might be possible and hope the country can explore such options.

    I certainly agree that no right can harm some to benefit others. That's a point that we have to insist on. However we fix the system, it can't cause more harm. But I suggest that the present system is harming those without money in favor of those who have it.

    Thought provoking comment. thanks!

  3. I never meant to imply that our current system is favorable to a universal health care system. Only that affordable health care cannot be equated with things such as life and liberty because its consequences will not benefit all people. I do believe it to be a privledge, albeit one that everyone should have.

  4. Oh I did not think you were in favor of the current system. I know you put down that you also believe in universal health care.

    I was just explaining why I think it is a right. But I can see your reasoning.

    I suppose my problem with calling it a privilege. Is that a privilege does not seem to be something for everyone. I admit however that the concept "privilege that everyone should have" makes sense. For instance, driving is clearly a privilege, but everyone who is capable of driving is allowed to do so. One could extend that and say all who need health care - i.e. everyone - shall get that privilege.

    But I still have trouble seeing it as other than a basic human right. For I don't know how we can be happy if we are not healthy, hence if the one is a right so is the other.

    But either way. The important thing is that all are able to have a basic coverage at an affordable price. And, of course, we agree on that.

  5. I think the problem of your argument is that you assume the government has our best interest at the core of their decision making. I think they don't.

  6. No Isaiah I don't think the government has our best interest at heart. But do you think Private Insurance companies do? Not a chance. My argument is rather that if Health Care is a public right and service we have some say in it. The Government is corrupt but has some accountability to us as we vote for the people in government. We do not vote for our health insurance companies and have no power to effect how they will act. It's a question of the lesser of two evils.

  7. The thing is you do have a say now. The saying is that nothing is mightier than the dollar and you can vote with your dollar. I think voting with your dollar gives you more of a say than if the government took over. As of now I don't think we have much of a voice. Case and point is that over 60% of Americans (from NBC) don't want a bailout for the auto makers but the government is going forward. I think in the end our dollar has a louder voice than my government representative.

  8. Well Isaiah, the "money talks" point of view sounds nice. But if so, how do you explain that 47 million Americans have no insurance and another 20 million are under- insured?

    How do you also explain that Insurance companies do everything they can to not cover those who are even fully insured? They do EVERYTHING they can not to pay and are often very successful at it?

    Explain why France who has a nationally run system ranks #1 in health care in the world - According to the World Health Report - while the United states ranks 37th?

    Explain why England and Canada have higher life spans, fewer infant mortalities, and spend less money? That is less money as a country and less money for individual citizens.

    So it sounds nice to speak about money talking or the quality increase associated with privatization. But it's sheer nonsense. Empirical research quickly shows that this position is pure Baloney.

    Nationalized systems are more efficient, less costly, and guarantee care. Private Insurance companies constantly deny care to those who really need it.

    This is not "a liberal rant" but simple observation. If you spend 30 minutes reading the world health report, or do some simple statistical comparisons of the United States with either France, or Italy, or Spain, or Canada, or England, or Denmark, or Australia, or New Zealand, or even cuba - all socialized systems - the United states and its privatized system falls short.

    So let us leave ideology aside and just look at the facts.

    Here is a good place to start:

    You might also carefully investigate the fact that fire companies use to be private. We did not have a public fire department. As a result uninsured homes were left to burn to the ground.

    to paraphrase the gipper - against him of course - privatization is not the solution; privatization is the problem.

  9. I too often hear of the comparison of the Canada's National healthcare system to our own Privatized, Capitalistic, Market driven healthcare system. The quick answer to mirror Canada’s system seems to come from the thought to tax all and generate the needed financial base to create a US healthcare system. What is flawed in that thinking is the premise that Canada does something similar. Also flawed is the thought that healthcare in Canada is a public good free to all comers. While these two things would exist in the US plan for healthcare, investigation reveals that the national healthcare system in Canada is heavily financed through the taxation of mineral and gas rights leased to companies who mine such things. Seems our neighbors to the north may own their land but all mineral and mining rights belong to the government so there is a strong capital base for funding. Secondly, many folks don’t know that because of their free healthcare system Canada’s immigration laws are very strict. Before being issued a visa you must first prove you ability to add to the economy. If not, no free lunch. Another problem wrought with the single fee payer plan is there’s no plan if the money runs out from the revenue collected. If (or should I say when) consumers over utilize the system it will implode upon itself with no bail out formula. When supply has been restricted as it has been in the current system demand will quickly exceed the supply of available medical treatment. In California Gov Arnold vetoed such a plan that would allow any and all on comers citizens of the US or not CA residents or not to access the healthcare system created under CA legislation. Id Healthcare is made a public good it should be as a result of having a supply large enough to fill the demand.
    While I am not opposed to access to healthcare for all I believe that if a national healthcare system is to be undertaken it must provide for a ramp up in supply to meet the new demand that will occur, and must come with a strong fortified revenue base.
    When these two parts of the economic puzzle are present the system will work.

  10. Will. First of all, very good comment. I like your position and your argument.

    I find that I agree with much of what you say. In fact the Canadian system has a number of problems. More even than you mention.

    It seems to me, however, pretty evident that our system is worse. to many people are just not covered in our system, even when they have health insurance!!

    I think we could actually do far better than the Canadian system. And I'm not sure that a Single payer system is the answer to our particular problems. In some countries such as France such systems work well. But a single payer system make not be very efficient in the United States.

    what matters to me is simply the following:

    1) Health Care coverage is a basic human right (see my earlier comments for the arguments to support that)

    2) Our system leaves millions uncovered, millions more undercovered, and still may not pay for those who are covered! That is a travesty and a violation of our rights!

    3) We must move to a system were all are provided a full basic health care covered which they can afford. At present Health care costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. That cannot remain the case!

    Now I don't think there is only one way to bring about coverage for all. I certainly don't think that we have to have a single payer system. Though we may in the end adopt that route.

    I guess I would say I see a problem with our system, but I am open to several different possible solutions to this problem.

    I like what you say about a "revenue base". It's a good point, and definitely worth exploring further.

    Thanks for the insightful comment!


Comments from many different points of view are welcome. But I will not publish any comments that are hateful, insulting, or filled with profanity. I welcome and encourage dialogue and disagreement but will not publish any hate speech.