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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

US health care: reform « Previous | |Next »
June 21, 2009

As Ezra Klein points out in American Prospect Obama's health-care reform is health-care-system-spending reform The purpose of health reform is to pay for health care -- not to improve the health of the population. If health insurance does not equal health, health insurance is important because, as Kein says:

for too many, a trip to the emergency room ends in bankruptcy, or a child's fall results in massive credit-card debt. And those who can't afford regular care often suffer terribly from chronic pain and preventable illness. Fixing the health-care system is imperative from both a moral and an economic perspective.

There are around 47 million individuals in the US currently uninsured and unable to afford care. Obama's public option if it materializes, will be just that — an option Americans can choose, thereby giving Americans an alternative if private insurers fall down on the job.

KALUS healthcare.jpg Kal

In the US Big Pharma and Insurance are planning to degut the public options in Obama's health care legislation that is before Congress--a public option that would compete with private insurers and use its bargaining power to negotiate better rates with drug companies. So it represents competition.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:20 PM | | Comments (5)


What sort of society are they that choose to have 15% of their population without healthcare insurance, and I suspect, many more underinsured? What sort of values and principles are esteemed and respected that allows this sort of situation to occur?

I shakes my head at the Americans, and I shake my heads at us for being allied to them.

It's a market society with a minimal safety net. The contrast is with the UK. The big problem with Britain is that there's nothing outside the National Health Service. If you want to pay for care out of your own pocket, you have to give up your state-based coverage.

As Ezra Klein observes about the US health system in the Washington Post:

The system is currently biased toward the worst form of cost control: rationing by income. Every year, we contain costs by quietly letting 2 million or so more people fall into the ranks of the uninsured....Our incentives have gotten a bit insane when you need 60 votes in the Senate to let Medicare bargain down prescription drug prices but no one ever needs to approve a 10 million rise in the ranks of the uninsured.

I find it a shocking and cruel way to ration health care spending. One way to address better health (not just funding) is making it more affordable for low-income Americans to eat well, given the big health costs associated with obesity and diabetes.

it is well known that Republicans pretty much oppose all Democratic proposals to reform healthcare. So naturally they oppose the creation of a public option as part of healthcare reform too. They cannot see beyond private insurance. Their basic argument is that “government-run health care” is doomed to failure, and thus any effort to reform the US health system is also doomed to failure since it’s destined to end in a government-run dystopia.

Most people in the US are lucky to get their insurance to pay for a routine trip to the doctor, much less a battery of tests. Doctors usually order tests only when they can benefit financially.

The AMA is one of America's most retrograde political institutions. The AMA adamantly opposed the creation of the same Medicare system they now argue should pay doctors more money. Does the AMA support Obama's health care reform?

Paul Krugman in the New York Times makes a disturbing point:

The real risk is that health care reform will be undermined by “centrist” Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements of reform. I use scare quotes around “centrist,” by the way, because if the center means the position held by most Americans, the self-proclaimed centrists are in fact way out in right field.

What the balking Democrats seem most determined to do is to kill the public option, either by eliminating it or by carrying out a bait-and-switch, replacing a true public option with something meaningless. For the record, neither regional health cooperatives nor state-level public plans, both of which have been proposed as alternatives, would have the financial stability and bargaining power needed to bring down health care costs.

Je says that Voters, it seems, strongly favor a universal guarantee of coverage, and they mostly accept the idea that higher taxes may be needed to achieve that guarantee. What’s more, they overwhelmingly favor precisely the feature of Democratic plans that Republicans denounce most fiercely as “socialized medicine” — the creation of a public health insurance option that competes with private insurers.