Thursday, December 06, 2007

Can we afford to keep waiting for health care reform?

Clinton failed to pass health care reform in 1993 in part because the Canadian national health care system was held up as "the" model by progressives, and naturally conservatives trashed it and nothing got done. Well, here we are 14 years later and our health care coverage has eroded and the costs have skyrocketed. How has Canada fared? Better than us according to the EPI:
As the chart below reveals, the cost gap between the United States and Canada has only widened since 1993, and per capita health care expenditures in the United States are now almost double those in Canada ($6,401 vs. $3,359). Canada's per capita health expenditures rose about 65% from 1993 to 2005, while costs in the United States rose by over 90%.
Yet infant mortality in the United States is higher and life expectancy at birth is less than in Canada. It is also noteworthy that despite Canada's much lower expenditures on health care, Canadians consult with physicians far more often than do Americans. The average number of physician consultations per capita was 6.0 in Canada, versus 3.8 in the United States.
I read somewhere that Americans want some kind of national health insurance system, but those of us who have insurance now are afraid to give up what we have. In other words, we're more comfortable dancing with the devil we know versus the one we don't.

What will it take to get real change? Our inaction is costing us money, jeopardizing people's health, and costing people their lives. We can't afford to let our fear immobilize us any longer.


Larry said...

The longer millions go without healthcare, those of us who do face losing it any day.

Something must be done to insure every American, and providing what Congress has suits me just fine.

Lew Scannon said...

Just think, if we took all the money we're dumping into Iraq right now, we could insure every American.

abi said...

Damn, if you didn't follow up one great post with another.

This is a very telling comparison of the costs/benefits of our health care system with Canada's. How anyone can continue to defend our system and knock down Canada's in light of such stats is beyond me.

But I don't see the plans of the top-tier Dems being a great improvement over what we have now. Those plans maintain the basic inefficient, for-profit structure of the industry (just as Clinton's plan did 14 years ago), and just add a layer of government bureaucracy on top of it.

- abi

Larry said...

Thought you might like this Kathy:

By Colleen Redman:

I want President Bush to have a dream
like the one that Ebenezer Scrooge had
I want him to be visited by the ghosts of Iraqi children
who cry out, "But mankind was your business."

I want all the Tiny Tims of the world
to get their 401k money back
from the white collar criminals who stole it

I want them to not go to war for oil,
good ratings, or weapon sale quotas
because this white collar mafia is in power

I wish President Bush would have an affair
I wish he'd take off his black pointed cowboy boots
and look at the moon more often

And then I wish he'd wake up
and be inflicted with what Jim Carey had
in the movie "Liar Liar"

I wish all the billboards across the country read:
"Give back the votes your brother stole"
and the poets would shout from every street corner,
"The emperor wears no clothes"

I want his mouth washed out with soap
every time he says "weapons of mass destruction"
and for him to wear a Darth Vader helmet
if he ever says "the axis of evil" again

I hope President Bush looks out his White House window
when we descend on Washington marching for peace
like hordes of starlings who know their way home
because it is in their nature

I want President Bush to have a dream
like the one that Martin Luther King had
I want him to be visited by the ghosts of King,
John Lennon, Paul Wellstone, and the Kennedys

I want the New York Times to cover the story
when his mother scolds him for being a bully
I hope he gets some Gi Joes for Christmas
and starts to play with real toys
and not with real people

I think President Bush should go back to school
and look up some words in the dictionary
or study history - like the Roman Empire
I'd like him to write on the blackboard 100 times,
"I will not promote propaganda - or the far right agenda"
" I will not join gangs"

I want President Bush to be haunted
by the ghosts of our Founding Fathers
until he learns this lesson:
that killing civilians is a terrorist act
and pre-emptive strike is invasion

I want him to break out in song
at his next Address to the Nation
singing "Give Peace a Chance" is all we are saying
and "We Shall Overcome"

I want President Bush to have an epiphany
or else I want him gone
I want Americans to say "yes" when the polls ask,
"Should regime change begin at home?"

And I want him to stop shouting "Fire!"
in the theatre when he is the one with the matches
I want him to care about children
more than slogans and re-elections

If President Bush doesn't have a real dream soon
he should step aside for those who do
He should impeach himself
and ask for forgiveness
for imposing his nightmare on the world

Kathy said...

Lew, not only could we insure every American, we could also fix our crumbling infrastructure, educate our children, etc., etc.

Abi, thanks. Every so often my brain kicks into high gear for more than one day at a time! One criticism I recently read about single-payer health care is that jobs would be lost in the insurance industry because there wouldn't be all that paperwork to deal with it. That is a consideration, but not enough to outweigh the interests of 47 million uninsured Americans in my opinion. We need to get the for profit companies out of the way and move forward.