Skip to main content

Healthcare Reform: Simple Truths

For those of us who believe that healthcare reform is vital to our personal health and our national security, and for those of us who believe that a single-payer option is not only desirable but necessary, it is time to display our passion. It is time to expose the bumper-sticker attacks on healthcare reform with bumper-sticker truths of our own. And to those who complain that my truths are incomplete and cherry-pick statistical information, I say, “So what? Why should the rules that I play by be any different than yours?”

TRUTH #1: GOVERNMENT DOESN’T RATION HEALTH CARE. INSURANCE COMPANIES DO.

What is managed care? Rationing. Why not cover pre-existing conditions? Rationing. Why do 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every day? Rationing.

On the other hand, Medicare and Medicaid are portable, affordable, and cover pre-existing conditions.

So if you qualify for government healthcare, you are not subject to rationing. If you own private insurance, you are.

TRUTH #2: SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE IS BETTER FOR YOUR HEALTH.

America, the nation that is 33rd on the list of infant mortality, has a higher infant mortality than Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and France. Most if not all of the countries with a lower infant mortality rate have single-payer systems.

Americans, in the nation that is 30th on the list of life expectancy, have a lower life expectancy than Boznia and Herzegovina, Jordan and France. Most if not all of the countries with higher life expectancies have single-payer systems.

It has been argued that infant mortality and life expectancy are not valid measures, that other factors outside of the purview of insurance companies apply. But the United States sits at the back of the pack of industrialized nations in terms of accessibility, efficiency and cost-effectiveness, coordinated care, and chronic care management.

TRUTH #3: SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE IS MORE COST-EFFECTIVE THAN PRIVATE INSURANCE.

Americans spend more per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world. America spends more as a percentage of GDP on healthcare than any other country in the world. Americans spend more per procedure than any other country in the world.

Personal spending on healthcare – spending to pay for healthcare-related taxes, insurance, and out-of-pocket expenses – is higher than any other country in the world.

Spending on healthcare in America has increased at a rate higher than nine European Union countries (including France) and Canada.

Combining the above three truths, a cost/benefit analysis clearly demonstrates that the insurance industry produces a poor product at a high cost. If the insurance companies were automobile manufacturers or steel producers, they would have been forced into bankruptcy long ago.

Finally, if you have a soft spot in your heart for the health insurance industry...

TRUTH #4: A PUBLIC OPTION WILL NOT KILL THE INSURANCE COMPANIES.

In France, the single-payer system pays for 75% of most healthcare bills. Nearly everyone purchases supplemental private insurance to cover the remaining 25%. Competition is healthy and insurance companies are making substantial profits.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days.

Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December.

The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the first…

RESTAURANT ETIQUETTE IN FRANCE: SIMPLE PRIMER (WITH TONGUE IN MY AMERICAN CHEEK)

My recent reading of a poor internet review of a favorite restaurant of ours prompted this post. Some people simply should not be allowed internet access. Speech may rightly be free, but it shouldn't be worthless.

From reading the review, I could determine that the reviewer was a tourist who started out in a bad mood because he had to pay extra for parking a camper van that exceeded the maximum height for parking in the free lot. His party arrived at the restaurant at the end of lunch and without a reservation. At first, he was told that an empty table that he pointed out was reserved. When he persisted, he was informed that lunch was over. Since none of the other restaurants in town were still open, the reviewer had to miss lunch.

Let me count the ways...

RESERVATIONS ARE NECESSARY. Maybe not at Burger King, maybe not in a touristy restaurant in a touristy destination. But if you are really hungry, if you really want to try that restaurant that everybody's talking about, or …

FRENCH VISA AND HEALTH INSURANCE FOR AMERICANS

The most expensive item in an American family's budget may be health insurance. But many Americans have no understanding of the true cost of their insurance because it's included in their employment package. Folks simply don't think about how much their employer may be reducing their salaries when factoring in insurance costs.

Before I retired, my employer paid for my health insurance but I had to pay to insure my wife. The cost, taken out of my every paycheck, came to about $6,000 annually. And even with insurance, there were co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. We were reasonably healthy (and still are, knock wood), but we each take a few common prescription medications - for blood pressure and cholesterol and the like, nothing exotic or costly. Even so, with regular visits to the doctor, periodic lab work, the drugs, and the occasional illness or injury, we normally spent an additional several thousand dollars annually in the States over and above the cost of the i…