How Corporate Greed Undermines Health Care Reform

health careTo listen to the media, you might think there’s a legitimate argument against a national health care plan for America. Without pointing out the blatant fallacies in the talking points raised by Republicans (and surprisingly some Democrats) who for reasons of their own oppose national health care legislation, the TV talking heads, radio loudmouths and newspaper pundits regurgitate mythology dreamed up by public relations spinners to brainwash the public.

A popular myth, for example, is that Americans already have the best health care in the world. In fact, the United States ranks 23rd in infant mortality, down from 12th in 1960 and 21st in 1990; 20th in life expectancy for women, down from 1st in 1945 and 13th in 1960; 21st in life expectancy for men, down from 1st in 1945 and 17th in 1960; and between 50th and 100th in immunizations depending on the immunization. Overall the United States is 67th – right behind Botswana.

You will also hear that health care reform would be too expensive, especially in such a deep recession. In fact, under the convoluted and corrupt system now operating, the United States spends at least 40 percent more per capita on health care than any industrialized country with universal health care. Studies by the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accounting office show that single-payer universal health care would save $100-200 billion per year despite the extension of coverage involved.

Critics warn that the U.S. would have a “socialist” health care system like Canada’s, which would limit the choices patients now enjoy – in addition to bankrupting the nation. The truth is that health care costs in Canada have increased at a much lower pace than in the United States since Canadians adopted a national health care system.  One reason: The United States spends 50 to 100 percent more on administration than single-payer systems.

As for patients’ choices, Americans now are denied access to health care based on their ability to pay. Under a universal health care system everybody would have equal access. And there would be no long lines as the critics claim. There is actually an oversupply of U.S. providers and facilities, and because of the size of our economy, the United States can afford to spend more on health care than other industrialized nations.

The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee access to health care as a right of citizenship. Twenty-eight industrialized nations have single-payer universal health care systems, while one (Germany) has a multi-payer universal health care system like the one President Clinton proposed 15 years ago.

So what is really behind the battle to block health care reform? Corporations buy politicians through campaign contributions and influence the media to convince the public that corporations can provide the best system for delivering health care. Why? Because health care providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and insurance companies have a lot more wiggle room in a private system, and by fair means and foul make obscene amounts of money.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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