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?