Healthcare is Sick

Is there a cure?

What is wrong with egalitarian health care?

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The proposed public health care option has been attacked as evil in a variety of ways: it is “socialism”; it will cost too much; it will put the government in between you and your doctor, etc.

For example, on October 8th, Sean Hannity claimed “Everywhere socialized medicine has been tried, it’s failed. It ends up in rationing… it ends up bankrupting the country.”

Interesting analysis, considering France has “socialized medicine” as well as the world’s best health care system, according to a 2000 report by the World Health Organization.  America ranked 37th in quality of care, but still spent the most of any country.

The disparity between the French and American systems is most obvious when comparing uninsurance rates: .1 percent for France, 15 percent for the good ‘ol US of A.

The result of this rationed care?  Every 12 minutes someone will die because they didn’t have health insurance, totaling 45,000 people every year, which computes to roughly 15 September 11th attacks.

A public option is a logical solution to America’s insurance crisis.  If the private sector cannot provide adequate health care to all Americans, the government has a moral duty to do so.  Many rightfully express concern about the cost, but a public option would actually decrease overall health care costs in several ways.

As i noted in my post “The Massachusetts model for health care”, a public option would force private insurers to contain costs, but would also be more cost efficient than private insurers .  According to economist Paul Krugman, Medicare spends  98 percent of its budget on providing care, while private insurers spend only 80 percent- the other 20 percent goes to marketing, profits and administrative expenses.

Although it would require a substantial up front investment, a public health care plan would end up decreasing long term health care costs through efficiency, cost control and increasing access to preventive care.  Egalitarian education is an option provided through America’s vast system of public schools, and it makes sense to provide a similar option for health insurance.

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Written by Chris Russell

October 13, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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