It is no secret that health care costs are spiraling out of control in this country. The approach that the United States government has taken towards the public health-care system should be completely reevaluated.
Instead of being the only major industrialized nation that does not have a public system to cover working people who cannot afford it or who do not receive private health insurance from their employers, we can adopt a system that takes the cost of health care away from individuals and evenly distributes it back to society as a whole. On average Americans spend more per person on their health care than on both groceries and housing (California Progress Report).
The policies on this issue are leading us into alarmingly high rates of insurance premiums that are rising faster than inflation, which puts a halt to economic growth and leaves employer businesses with less money to give raises to working people who do not make enough to pay for an individual policy for themselves and their family. While the superiority of and accessibility to medical care in the United States remains among the best in the world, it leads us to wonder whether we would be better off implementing a universal government-controlled health care system like the ones used in Canada, Cuba, England, and France.
Since most companies that are providing these benefits are working together with the lobbyists that are putting this system into place for their own gain, they don’t want it to change for many reasons. One of them being that health care coverage should be for the benefit of simple profit and not to protect peoples’ lives. The Documentary Sicko directed by Michael Moore documents the hidden tactics of your typical friendly “All American Insurance Companies.” While profit is a market- driven force, they compromise to save money through denial of care and lowering provider costs. This leaves the problem only temporarily fixed, and makes it hard for low income-income families to get good health care. (http://www.sicko-themovie.com/)
A solution to this is to motivate the working people to get in contact with a green party group to pass a single universal health care bill or referendum in their state. State level bills and referenda will be most effective because a federal health care system might in fact be too problematic because it is not politically realistic at this moment. We all recognize that these corporations are able to buy politicians who can persuade the citizens that corporate health care is independent, represents free will, and is the most practical system for delivering health care.
For instance, one out of every five people in California has no health insurance at all, and most of them are average to low middle-income working people (Kuehl,Sheila CaliforniaProgressReport, Floor Statement Health Care Reform and AB 8,January 11,2007). Usually, their employer will not provide this coverage since they do not make enough to pay for their individual policy for them and their loved ones. When it comes to those who do have insurance, many are underinsured and are much taken aback to discover that their insurance does not cover a large amount of their costs if they get ill or injured. “In fact half of all the personal bankruptcies in America are caused by medical costs and three-quarters of those bankrupted had insurance at the time they became ill or injured” (Kuehl,Sheila CaliforniaProgressReport, Floor Statement Health Care Reform and AB 8,January 11,2007).
Hypothetical person-A is a Vietnam veteran who suffers from hypertension and diabetes, like most elderly people he is need of affordable health care to survive. With the added cost of medical care people are forced to pay for medical expenses out of pocket. Person-A like many others is thus forced to sell his home in order to pay his medical bills, a action which is unjust and illustrates the flaws in our Medicare system.
More evidence of the inefficiency with the medical system was displayed in a recent poll. A Field Poll specially made by the California Wellness Foundation revealed that 80% of Californians want the government to guarantee access to affordable health care coverage when asked why healthcare costs are increasing, the majority pointed to excessive insurance company profits, followed by waste, fraud and inefficiency The combinations of these neglected acts are held responsible for the current disarray that the state of this nation is in. (www.californiaprogressreport.com)
When it comes to government-controlled health care systems, we have to examine nations like Canada, Cuba, England, and France which have monopolistic health care systems that are seen by different sides of the ideological spectrum as either models to be followed or avoided. Three ways that government-controlled health care systems do more good than harm are: 1) they get people to stop spending money on useless coverage and care; 2) prevent the screening of the sick and the elderly in their drive to register only healthy and profitable patients; and 3) have the private insurers stop throwing away vast sums of “our money” for advertisement and the underwriting that lead to exploitation of these activities. This spending only enhances companies earnings and takes away resources from care which hurts patients and leads to irate physicians who deal with useless paperwork imposed on doctors’ offices and hospitals, throwing away hundreds of billions more each year. Illustrating that a universal government program would be a superior option compared to the corrupt and inefficient one that is in place now.
According to the New England Journal Review, the solution is to inform the people of the actual truth to where their money is being used by insurance companies. The added cost of illness, medical bills and prescription drugs accounts for half of all U.S. bankruptcies, making it the highest in the world. Other industrialized nations spend less on nationwide health care, and the citizens are guaranteed to have coverage for life. They have more superior access to care than we do in our system. According to the Physicians for a National Health Program the solution to this madness is to replace all the private insurance companies and create a single-payer public program- “Medicare for All – saving more than $350 billion per year, enough new money to provide guaranteed comprehensive health benefits for all”. With the added surplus we can finally get the right start. (New England Journal of Medicine, 2003)
Our privatized system shows its inefficiency from the start when compared to that of Canada’s. As shown on The Canadian Institute for Health Information, “In contrast to the roughly 20 percent overhead of insurance companies, Canada’s single-payer program runs for 1 percent overhead.” Canada promotes this efficient work through a medical profession with a self-governing College of Physicians and Surgeons. The licensing physicians are responsible for setting practice standards, educating and disciplining its members. In America many companies play favoritism with the healthy and profitable patients, over the elderly and sick. Health care has always demonstrated a foundation that vividly displays a full, joyful quality of life. Our American constitution was created to represent all our citizens regardless of their backgrounds. Health care is a standard human right that should be paid for all citizens, not a privilege to be indulged by the affluent. A single-payer national health insurance program would promise access to high-quality and complete health care for all Americans. These savings allow universal coverage for a much cheaper price. (http://secure.cihi.ca/cihiweb)
I recall a time when my mother’s union the Teachers Federation was involved in disagreements over health benefits for the past 10 years. Universal coverage is the most logical step to defuse this debatable issue, providing independent benefits regardless of employment status, by allowing business greater flexibility in whom they want to hire.
As shown by Richard Alvarez, the Canadian Institute for Health information states that close to a third of the U.S. population’s health cost is spent on blind administrative costs and open marginal profits instead of actual care, adding to $2,300 per person. The total elimination of these private insurance companies and reorganization of health financing through a single public payer could greatly halt the expenditure of wasted money under the private system. Many analysts estimate that the United States can put aside $350 billion in 2003 with a single-payer system. Counting the current combination of what we are currently spending out-of-pocket and in taxes, that is sufficient to afford full coverage to everyone without spending any more than we are now. With just these obvious procedures, it alarms me how much can be done if we streamline our deficiencies that lead us to these alternative options. (http://secure.cihi.ca/cihiweb/en/downloads/partner_conf_oct2003_report_e.pdf)
One of the best steps for the American health system to regain a compatible coverage system seen in other industrialized countries is making everyone a winner. Every American should be awarded a basic health insurance card that would enable them a full range of benefits to any doctor or hospital site. All patients, regardless of background or economic status, should not have to pay a deposit and should not have to receive medical bills. This win-win situation will allow doctors and hospitals to be winners, if we create a single national health act and fund that will pay out for coverage and prevent insurance companies from being the primary financiers. Simply preserving all the waste that is attributed to them, such as the official procedures, savings would be enough to provide coverage for all without spending any more. Not only will it cost less by saving $ 350 billion, it will stimulate job growth and the U.S. economy by taking the weighty expenses off small and large private businesses.
Another way in alleviating this problem is by educating ourselves. One of the best ways to start is to have congress pass this and have them support it. We can also bring materials and collaborate with members of your church, community, and labor groups who are activist who have held strong to their principles, and soon found what was the impossible was not impossible..
Having to outline the necessary steps of achieving a public health-system, it will create long-standing results that will be supported by many generations to come. Electing future presidential candidates John Edwards and Barrack Obama, are all fundamentally the same since they want to provide subsidies for the purchase of private insurance. The only difference between them and our current President Bush is how big the subsidies will be, and how insufficient the coverage will be. If we want to find a remedy for our problem then our approach may take a Republican President to sell it and then to bless the socialization of health spending we so righteously need.
Healthcare in California: An Essay by Senator Sheila Kuehl, January 11, 2007 (www.californiaprogressreport.com)
Health Care Reform at the Close of the 20th Century : By The New England Journal of Medicine, 2003) Health care in Canada Date published: September 20, 2007,
Sicko:Dir Michael Moore. Prod. Jane Rosenthal: Sicko truth Squad Set CNN Straight – Again, July 11th, 2007 8:44 pm, (http://www.michaelmoore.com/sicko/news/article.php?id=10026)
Healthcare Care In Canada: Healthcare in Canada 2007- A new direction for a familiar health information resource: September 20, 2007