Sunday, July 29, 2012

We're #1! Not Even Close.

We're # 1 ! Not even close.

Would you, or any other American, say no to a health care system that:

  1. Provided universal coverage; cradle to grave medical and preventive care and prescription drugs for every citizen; coverage that couldn't be denied --regardless of pre-existing conditions or prior health history, or terminated for any reason—loss of job, development of significant medical problems, etc.
  2. Allowed any patient to see any doctor, any specialist, any surgeon, and any hospital in the country, and the insurance must pay the bill.
  3. Has insurance that has no deductible—bills are paid from the first dollar billed
  4. Has insurance that pays doctor and hospital bills within a week, and patients are reimbursed for their costs at the end of each month.
  5. Has insurance premiums that are dirt cheap (ie: in 2007: a single person making $20,000/year paid $12.25/month, and the employers share of the monthly premium was $208.00)
  6. Has waiting times to see physicians about the same as in the US, for patients with insurance.
  7. Does a better job of curing people whose diseases are curable and doesn't allow more than 22,000 of its citizens die every year of curable diseases, as does the US, for lack of access to basic medical care.
  8. Has insurance administrative costs below 5% (vs 20% in the US), meaning more money is spent on direct care
  9. That spends less than half the per capita costs in the US ($3165.00: 10% GNP vs $7000.00: 17% GNP).. with everyone covered vs 50 million uninsured in US
  10. Has zero personal bankruptcies due to medical bills vs >700,000/year in the US.
  11. Is NOT socialized medicine, but is a system of private doctors treating patients who buy health insurance to cover most of the cost; and allows those who want to, to buy supplemental insurances, at low cost, to cover what the basic insurance doesn't cover: face-lifts, tummy tucks, erectile dysfunction, etc.
  12. Has a national card for each patient with digitized medical records of every doctor visit, referral, injection, operation, x-ray, diagnostic test, prescription, etc to improve doctor to doctor communication and decrease medical errors and deaths; and, has all of the billing information down to the dollar amount per visit/treatment, and how much the insurance will pay the doctor and reimburse the patient as well.
  13. Has the highest rated quality of care, most cost-efficient and highest customer satisfaction in the world.

What is described above is the health care system of France. France, like all of the other developed countries, except the United States, made the moral decision of solidarity that health care is a right guaranteed to all of its citizens; that the moral imperative to provide basic medical care, prevention and prescription drugs is fairer, works best for their society and the health of the nation, and is most cost-efficient.

The US, on the other hand, does not have a health care system. It is a fragmented for-profit market, driven by the imperatives and principles of profit and growth; where health care is a commodity, bought and sold, like cars and televisions and discriminates on the basis of wealth; where profit and growth—as in all other corporate enterprises—supersede the interests of the society, the individual, and even life.

Compared to other developed nations, our market approach to disease care has failed the customer in terms of quality, access and costs. Specifically, it is 37th in quality, while at the same time being the most discriminating, unfair and most expensive non-system in the world, with the highest rates of medical errors and death, all yielding one of the most unhealthy populations of any developed country. But, it does continue to provide massive profits to the corporations that run it.

The next time you hear a politician or talking head scream socialized medicine, death panels, rationing, the end of free markets, etc. recognize them for who they are, and their fear-mongering for exactly what is. They are the standard bearers for the status quo and the mouthpieces of the vested interests to protect corporate profits, and nothing more. You see, we already have socialized medicine in the form of Medicare and the VA; the two most cost-efficient, highest quality and most highly rated systems in the country. We already have rationing and death panels—insurance administrators who deny claims, coverage, and cancel policies, and craft insurance premiums that make health care unaffordable to tens of millions.

Our market driven system is bankrupting our country, businesses, and individuals. The most obvious question no-one asks is: Who benefits from it? Answer that, and you will see why the status quo is so important and why we, as Americans, are so sick. Here's a clue: follow the money.

We're # 1! We ain't even close, in health care and so many other ways.

Note: #'s 1- 13 above sourced from: The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care: by, T.R. Reid

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