Sunday, January 28, 2007

Here's the elephant in the room: we need healthcare NOT insurance.

Nobody will acknowledge that there's something ghoulish about making a profit from illness and that healthcare should be the right of every American, even though providing it would solve the biggest economic problem of the middle and working classes, and wipe out more than half of the country's bankruptcies.

In the 1940s Henry J. Kaiser offered healthcare coverage to attract workers because we were at war and needed to build ships. It worked. Sixty years later the world has changed and tying healthcare to one's job no longer works. It's time for the federal government to step up to the plate and solve the problem by expanding Medicare. The administrative savings alone would likely yield sufficient revenues to provide comprehensive healthcare services including vision, dental, and prescription drugs to everybody in the country.

But, you argue, The market place is the best provider of such services - except that flies in the face of the obvious: if that were true, it would already have happened. The fact is, "market forces" can't handle the job. Administrative costs for Medicare are less than 2% while the insurance industry causes up to 1/3 of revenues to be spent on same.

Compare: The Austrian government spends 9.6% of its GDP on healthcare and everybody in the country is covered. We spend 15% of our GDP on healthcare and 47 million of us have NO healthcare. I am convinced that by expanding Medicare to cover everybody the cost of healthcare in the U.S. could be provided for about 10% of our GDP.

The pols and corporate community still don't get it - or they just don't have the guts to do what's right. Talk truth to power: a) Remind the insurance industry that causing 1/3 of revenues to be spent on administrative costs has priced them out of the market, b) Acknowledge that single payer healthcare is NOT socialized medicine.

With single payer healthcare every American would still choose their favorite doctor, hospital, dentist and drugstore - each of whom would continue to operate independently. The only difference? They would receive payment from one source rather than from 50 (or more) sources. The cost savings would be HUGE.

The time has come. America needs single payer healthcare and there no longer exists any logical argument against it.

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