Real health care in the U.S.

It could happen here. The U.S. may finally join the rest of the civilized world and provide health care to its citizens. It’s just one of those things you do when you claim to be a civilization, isn’t it? Right up there with fire and police protection, clean water, public roads and so forth.

Obama’s advocacy for decent health care is one of the things that make him such a peach, of course. But he faces an entrenched cadre of insurance profiteers, misery merchants and free-market characters who cry “socialized medicine” at the jerk of a knee. He’s got his work cut out for him there.

One obstacle may prove to be less than the money-trumps-all chorus would have had us believe, however. It turns out that the costs of providing universal coverage would be relatively modest, according to some recent analysis by the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation given to such things.

The take-away: use a plan that broadens access to Medicare, which has far lower administrative costs than private insurance plans. It would cost about 1% more than we’re already spending on health care.

We already know that Americans get less bang for their medical buck than anywhere else on the planet. Twenty cents of it gets soaked up just in the Byzantine record-keeping systems, for crying out loud. An undisclosed, but inevitably juicy chunk goes to “shareholder value,” i.e. profits by private insurance companies. Plenty of fat ripe for the trimming there.

You’ve probably seen Michael Moore’s Sicko. I did, and it made me, well, sicko. But in a good way, I suppose. And more than a little envious. In a regular country, if you get sick, you get medical care. Just like if your house catches fire, it gets put out. What a concept! No reason we can’t do it here.

One Response to Real health care in the U.S.

  • Marilyn says:

    I see you’re off to an auspicious start! Very interesting and nicely put.

    Cheers, and congrats on the new blog,

    Marilyn

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