Wednesday, June 17

Dean Blows Away Winger Health Care Talking Points

Howard Dean knocks down each and every one of the Winger Talking Points parroted by Norah O'Donnel

Some of the issues he obliterates

* Is a public option a stalking horse for this government control?
* Doctors don't support this plan--then proceeds to read a quote that doesn't say doctors are against a public plan?

* Medicare and Medicaid waste money.

* Doctors don't like it because they only get 80% of what they would under private insurance plans.

* How do you stop employers from dropping employees from their coverage?

Crooks and Liars have more on this, but I have my own take I want to address.

Here's a dirty little secret that private health insurers, their lobbyists (like the AMA) and their various sycophants in congress (Republican and Democrat alike) don't want you to know.

The Cost of Private health Care is Breaking the Back of the Nation.

According to the UN Human Development Index, which tracks the quality and cost of Health Care across the entire World he U.S. is by far the most expensive Health Care system mostly because of the cost of the Private portion of the system. (Sorry for the gap, can't get rid of it)

HDI Rank Expenditure on health (% of GDP) Public Private Combined
12 United States 6.9 8.5 15.4
106 Occupied Palestinian Territories 7.8 5.2 13
164 Malawi 9.6 3.3 12.9
88 Lebanon 3.2 8.4 11.6
7 Switzerland 6.7 4.8 11.5
123 Sao Tome and Principe 9.9 1.6 11.5
150 Timor-Leste 8.8 2.4 11.2
22 Germany 8.2 2.4 10.6
10 France 8.2 2.3 10.5
15 Austria 7.8 2.5 10.3
1 Iceland 8.3 1.6 9.9
4 Canada 6.8 3 9.8
29 Portugal 7 2.8 9.8
86 Jordan 4.7 5.1 9.8
2 Norway 8.1 1.6 9.7
17 Belgium 6.9 2.8 9.7
3 Australia 6.5 3.1 9.6
38 Argentina 4.3 5.3 9.6
9 Netherlands 5.7 3.5 9.2
34 Malta 7 2.2 9.2
6 Sweden 7.7 1.4 9.1
70 Brazil 4.8 4 8.8
20 Italy 6.5 2.2 8.7
23 Israel 6.1 2.6 8.7
27 Slovenia 6.6 2.1 8.7
14 Denmark 7.1 1.5 8.6
121 South Africa 3.5 5.1 8.6
19 New Zealand 6.5 1.9 8.4
66 Bosnia and Herzegovina 4.1 4.2 8.3
46 Uruguay 3.6 4.6 8.2
110 Nicaragua 3.9 4.3 8.2
13 Spain 5.7 2.4 8.1
16 United Kingdom 7 1.1 8.1

As you can see Health Care in the U.S. takes a larger slice of GDP than it does in the Occupied Territories of Palestine and in Lebanon. So called "Socialized" medical systems from countries such as Canada, France, England and Germany , which we are always told to be afraid of increasing cost and lowering services are all between 30-50% less expensive than our system and all of the - all of them - rank higher in terms of the resulting quality of service as well as life expectancy of their citizens. (At 77.9 years, the U.S. Ranks 29th, Japan is first at 82.3)
The U.S. spends nearly TWICE AS MUCH of it's GDP as the U.K. on Health Care - in fact, the TOTAL COST of Health Care in England is less than the cost of our Private Health Care System AlONE! That's money being Bled out of our corporations and our national productivity, it's making the U.S. Less competitive and our workers less employable.

The U.S. also ranks in about 30th place, behind France, Canada, Norway and Sweden in Infant Morality. (Averaging 6 cases of mortality for every 1,000 Live births - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Finland, Singapore, Slovenia and the Czech Republic all have half that number with only 3 cases, France and Germany average 4, Canada and England average 5) If we care about "Saving Babies" so much - why can't we keep ours alive even after they've been born?

The best version of a "Public Option" in my mind would be to simply allow people to buy into Medicare. Instead of paying premiums to Blue Cross, they could have their employer pay those premiums - at most likely a far lower pre-tax rate - directly to Medicare to allow themselves early access to that system before they reach the minimum age requirements.

Now Medicare isn't perfect, it still needs to have it's prescription drug program fixed to allow it to negotiate for the best price from providers, but it's far FAR cheaper and more efficient that any current private system, and it's exactly that competition that the big Insurers are afraid of, therefore we should be sure to give it to them and let the consumers choose.

Even if the Public Option were a "Stalking Horse" for government run Health Care - it would save us Hundreds of Billions compared to what we're paying Privates insurance Companies now.

While we're at it, we also need to ban the blocking of coverage for "Pre-Existing Conditions" and stop allowing bonuses to be paid for insurance corporation pencil pushers who deny legitimate claims. Only a doctor and their patient should be making the decision on what type of treatment is needed.

Lastly, we need to stop making the Emergency Room the very first stop for the uninsured. Basic preventive Care and screening for common issues should be available to everyone, anywhere, free of cost, because the primary way we'll save costs as well as improve outcomes is to catch a potential disease early before it becomes Critical.

Even if we don't provide full coverage to every citizen - we HAVE TO DO THIS - at a bare minimum.

Anything less is a failure.


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