Thursday, March 5, 2009

The time is ripe for real health care reform

Barack Obama is today holding a massive conference on Health Care reform. Here are his opening remarks:

Coinciding with this, the White house has launched a new website focused on health care reform. I posted a story on this website for Huliq today.

Obama has said the right things. He said that Health care reform is not only a moral but also a fiscal imperative which requires immediate action. But already the powerful special interests that crushed the Clintons' attempt at health care reform are in attack mode.

We can't let these special interests defeat health care reform again. Look at it his way, France, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, The Netherlands, Israel, Ireland and others all have universal nationally funded and regulated health care.

None of these countries have transformed into Stalinist regimes, none of them have lost basic democratic freedoms, none of them have fallen to 3rd world status. Furthermore, everyone of these countries has a longer median life expectancy, a lower infant morality rate, less diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and stroke, than the united States. And in all these places everyone is provided basic care!

Finally, the United States spends far more per capita and far more of its GDP on health care costs, largely because of the fact that its privatized system denies basic coverage to 46.5 million Americans, and leaves many others under covered. Basically the problem is, lack of necessary screenings and other preventative care.

And it's not hard to see why this is so. The goal of private enterprise is profit. If I'm an unregulated or minimally regulated health insurance company, the most effective way to make a profit is to charge premiums and deductibles at the highest cost I can, and cover as little as possible. This is why there is, for all health insurance companies, a massive list of preexisting conditions that will not be covered.

So no more lame defenses of free-market health insurance please. The data speaks for itself. We need reform and we need it now.

We can not let the insurance industry and its lobbyists crush health care reform any longer; it is time to crush them.

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