Saturday, August 15, 2009

Health care, again?!?! Really...

All this talk about health care is driving me bonkers. And as much as I like rhetoric at times, it still can not dispute facts. So the scholar in me decided to do a little research to find out some information about some of the other countries in the industrialized world that offer health care to all of its citizens and then the United States. You may be surprised. *Disclaimer: The “Obama Health Care Plan” is not socialized/nationalized health care, yet keeps our current (horrible) system in place, but offers a public option for those not able to afford the care. HUGE difference.* So here is a little something that I found out:

According to the UNDP’s Human Development Reports for 2007/2008,

Population: 32.27 million
Number of Physicians per 100,00: 214
Public Expenditure on Health Care (% of GDP): 6.8
Private Expenditure on Health Care (% of GDP): 3.0
Health Expenditure per capita, US Dollars, 2004: 3,173

United Kingdom-
Population: 60.25 million
Number of Physicians per 100,000: 230
Public Expenditure on Health Care (% of GDP): 7.0
Private Expenditure on Health Care (% of GDP): 1.1
Health Expenditure per capita, US Dollars, 2004: 2,560

Population: 60.99 million
Physicians per 100,000: 337
Public Expenditure on Health Care (% of GDP): 8.2
Private Expenditure on Health Care (% of GDP): 2.3
Health Expenditure per capita, US Dollars, 2004: 3,040

United States-
Population: 299.85 million
Physicians per 100,00: 256
Public Expenditure on Health Care (% of GDP): 6.9
Private Expenditure on Health Care (% of GDP): 8.5
Health Expenditure per capita, US Dollars, 2004: 6,096

Statistics don’t lie. Our current system with the doctors already in practice could function under the proposed health care reform. But what is amazing is that the US already spends much more than the other nations in regards to health per capita, and we don't have systems like the other countries. That ALONE should be a huge reason to overhaul this health care system. So please do not buy into this nonsense about losing your doctor, etc. Citizens of all of these countries have private doctors. And other concern is about wait times. According to all of the sources I read, the wait times are not tremendous under the European/Canadian models of health care. My question is: Have you ever been to ER in the United States? You want to talk about wait time. It is out of control. But that is truly beyond the point. Don’t buy into all of the hysteria that is being manufactured about health care reform. I think that is good for Americans to hold civil debates and conversations about their concerns about the changes the health care system, but shouting each other down, lies being spread about “death panels,” euthanasia, and abortion funding, as well comparisons to Nazi Germany is completely ludicrous. I think it is shameless that people have taken this debate so far to stating that people’s grandmothers are going to put to death or the government will pull the plug on people. We should all be smarter than that and know that this all spin. I stated it before, but I will just reiterate that socialism, communism, and Nazism are not the same thing. Maybe I should make a pretty definition sheet of the three terms and travel across the US and hand it to the protesters. But again I would like to say that I do not believe that Obama is a socialist, nor is he bringing the ideology to the country. Chill out folks… The United States is not turning into Castro’s Cuba or the Eastern Bloc. And on the same note, the United States government is not going to start practicing Eugenics either. These are simply scare tactics, and the sad thing is that they are working. The Right and its corporate allies are working overtime to fool everyday citizens and use them as their army, so the system will remain the same. No one ever talks about the fact that the health care that the Democrats are proposing to all Americans, via the public option, is the same quality health care that is offered to veterans. But just as a side note, the VA is one of the highest approved bureaucratic agencies and VA health care is some of the finest quality care available, if that matters any.

But on a personal note: I would like to shout out to FRANCE for its high number of doctors, even under its wicked universal health care, and in 2000, the French were ranked number one by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the quality of health for its citizens and access to good health care. The US came in 37th. Womp womp. And what is even more amazing is the fact that the French, Brits, and Canadians all rave about their health care system, yet somehow is it reported to us in the mainstream media or assumed in public discourse that these citizens are receiving rationed care, its citizen loathe their health coverage, and people do not receive testing for advanced illnesses/diseases. Falsities, folks, falsities.

So where do we go from here? The debate is being polluted by these uninformed protesters and their false allegations, and that is honestly what the GOP wants. Numerous prominent figures on the Right have admitted that they want to “kill health care reform” to hurt both Obama and the Democratic party. But what they keep on forgetting about is that, yes they may be hurting these women and men’s political futures if they do not deliver on what they promised during the election, but they also are doing damage to the millions of Americans who do not have insurance or can not afford the over-priced insurance offered by these corporations. Politics need to be put aside and the representatives that we elected to office either need to come together and work out a plan that is not overly compromised and we lose the public option, or the Democrats can do what the GOP did when they were in power and strong arm this legislation through b/c they have the majority. Either way, the reform needs to happen.

“Roosevelt is dead. His policies may live on, but we are in the process of doing something about that as well.” -Rush Limbaugh

Strong word, eh? Since the policies of the New Deal went into effect, the Right has done its best to stop the creation of more social welfare programs and undo what has been established. Does anyone recall from a history class or personal recollections the battle to establish Medicare and Medicaid? And like President Obama, FDR was called a socialist, but ironically, the Left was not pleased with the programs that he worked to create, because they felt it was not enough. As a member of the Left and an avid listener of left-leaning commentary, the same can be applied in 2009, but I can at least state that we are wanting uncomprised health reform to go through and willing to work with the President, not against him. The pharmaceutical companies need to be regulated much more and contribute financially to the reform process; while, Obama needs to stop bowing down to them and get to solving the real problems that Americans face. (The same thing can be said about the coal industry and the climate bill.) But as history states, FDR was successful in getting his legislation passed, and despite failures by Truman and Clinton to create universal health coverage, President Obama has the chance to change the future of the country and all of its citizens. Will we allow this to happen or will history once again repeat itself?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

So can we take away Medicare too? And soo much more...

It's no surprise to anyone that knows me, I am a leftist and I support universal health care. However, what the government is offering is not universal/socialized/nationalized health care, and I wish people knew that before that start spouting off talking points. I am well-versed in what socialism and communism are, and what President Obama and Congress is advocating is NOT either one of those. So please spare me with those talking points. As I am sitting here and typing this, MSNBC political analyst explained the plan best... "It is health security." So what does that mean? It is the same as social security. You don't have to take the public option. You can still go to your own doctor. You can continue to overpay for health care and stay with your insurance company. What the government is trying to do is offer care for those who do not have health care, and compete with the insurance companies. Isn't that capitalism when there is competition? I have heard different numbers, so I will quote the latest one... According to some protesters, 80% of the country has health care. (I have heard much higher numbers, as well.) That's a vast majority, but there is still 20% of people without it. I don't know why there is such a backlash against this. Maybe people are assuming that the 20% are a group of lazy bottom-feeders who are not able to afford health insurance. Well, it's not the case. Health care is very expensive. People go bankrupt from it all of the time. A lot of individuals that don't have care are normal families who can not afford to cover their entire family, so I of course support a public option that will help them and anyone else who needs help. From what the White House was saying, by the time this health care plan will go into action, 94% of the population will be in private care and only 6% will use the public option.

I understand it's too late to take the politics out of it, because conservative pundits and talk show hosts have gotten so much of "Middle America" revved up and these *magical* town hall protests have been orchestrated by right-wing think tanks and organizations with ties to the health care industry in order to further their agenda, but this is total nonsense. I feel like I am being bombarded with video of elderly Americans yelling about how President Obama is running their America and they are afraid. Afraid of what? People getting health care? Energy regulation? No, no! That's not what these people are getting so worked up about. It was no mistake why I italicized their earlier. Their America was an America where President Obama would never have become President or Sonia Sotomayor would never have been confirmed by the Senate to become the first Latina Supreme Court Justice. Their America was the America the students, civil rights workers of all ethnicities, feminists, and LGBT community advocates of the 1960s and 1970s fought to get rid of. They fought for equality. And while there have been a few Democratic presidents since then, the election of Barak Obama last year was a huge moment in the country, because the work that so many had spent their lives striving for was finally fulfilled. (I am no point am EVER stating that we are post-racial, but the 2008 election was monumental.) Race/ethnicity has been so infused into everything recently, from the nonsense with the Birther movement, the Skip Gates racial profiling controversy, Glen Beck's assertion that the President is a racist, to Sotomayor's confirmation process, and it's truly unfortunate. Will we ever learn?

But what else could they be afraid of? Oh, they think this is socialism. What is this 1950 again or something? All of this RED SCARE talk is reminding me of all of the history classes I have taken. All the Right is doing is bringing out these irrational fears in people. It's nostalgic. Listen up people... No one is trying to ruin your way of life nor bring in some leftist agenda. But this is getting out of control. People are associating the Obama administration with Nazi Germany and loving Eugenics. I can't believe how ugly this is getting over health care and how absolutely WRONG people are. This is the last time I am ever saying this-It won't be, but a girl can dream, but communism/socialism (leftist economic theories) are not the same thing as Nazism. Nazi Germany was fascism, folks. Hitler aligned himself with Mussolini. He was a fascist. I can't say it enough, READ A BOOK or TAKE A COLLEGE COURSE! Preferably one in history or economics before you start spreading this crap. I don't care if Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck are calling President Obama or Nancy Pelosi, etc socialists or Nazis. That does not mean that anyone should spread such falsities. Think about their AGENDA before you buy into their nonsense.

So back to health care, all of these older Americans are yelling at town hall meetings, chuckling at violence against elected officials and getting overly emotional about President Obama wanting to make them die early, and it's just out of control. People are concerned about the government rationing their access to doctors or that the care they received before will completely change. I don't know how many times they have to say it, but it won't. When I was listening to one protester, she annoyed me so much because I had to realize that some people are so selfish and could care less about the well-being of others. She asks why does her way of living have to change in order to help that aforementioned 20%? Really? People think like that. Maybe it's the lefty in me, but you should care about the quality of living for more than just yourself and your family/friends. But enough with my lefty talk, because clearly that will only led to more fear and ammunition for the right.

If we take the politics and emotion out of it, why can't we have a decent conversation about the concerns that Republicans have about the Obama Health Plan? In all honesty, there is a Democratic congress and President so they can get this plan through without consulting the PARTY OF NO, but I think it's admirable that they are at least attempting to work with the GOP. However, on Nov. 4th the country elected Barack Obama as the president and health care was an essential part of his platform, so I don't understand why there is such backlash now. He won the election, fair and legally, and the majority of the country wanted the issues that he stood up for to be fixed. I am sorry if you don't like the outcome of the election, but that's life. Has been for a while now. He is our President and he is sticking to this campaign promise.

But what is funny is that a lot of these protesters are claiming that so-called nationalized health care will led to the demise of the health industry, but a lot of these people benefit from Medicare. News flash folks, Medicare is government ran health care. Since you are so opposed to it, can we take your Medicare away from you too? I can't understand the opposition's perspective on this, because it makes no sense and they won't lay out their issues. The Right is making everything personal and attacking people, not policies, for baseless reasons. If you want to have a real conversation, have facts not attacks. If you all continue with this nonsense, sane Americans will continue to rally against you all and your real concerns, not the talking points of right-wing talk show hosts, will truly be ignored. People are doing a huge disservice to themselves by adhering to this mob mentality on this issue, and unfortunately then all of us will suffer because a bill won't pass due to a lack of public support. It's truly amazing to me that the people who will benefit from this reform are the ones so strongly opposed to it. Please check up on your facts people. So stop calling this Congress and presidential administration socialist and trying to bring out Cold War tactics. If you want to have a real conversation, act like an adult not a bunch of whiny, spoiled, selfish individuals. I'm so through with this. Hey Congress: Pass this and the climate bill after the August recess, or face backlash from the people who actually voted for you. Good grief...