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Ruining Your Health

Mar 18, 2009
Health insurance is so expensive that 46 million Americans (15 percent of us) can’t afford it. The government provides it at a deep discount for many millions of others who are elderly, disabled, or veterans.

Health insurance expends huge amounts on administrative costs and profit-taking, far more than the government does in managing Medicare and Medicaid.

Health insurance costs as much as it does because the companies that offer it spend large amounts of money trying to avoid covering people likely to need coverage and fighting to avoid paying for the services required by those who have it.

Health insurance is history in the rest of the industrialized world, where single-payer universal health coverage has been happily in place for as long as 60 years.

So of course the change artists in our current administration are backing a very clever idea for providing universal health care: require everyone to have health insurance.

Obama’s recent health care conference was not even going to include a single voice for single-payer, until the outcry was so loud that Representative Conyers was invited. Still, you will find little or no mention of this rational solution in the news media. The blackout is all but complete (except on Democracy Now, of course1).

The element in Obama’s plan most likely to provide real relief for Americans—the devising of a national health insurance provider to compete with private insurers—is almost certain to go down in defeat, despite the fact that over 70 percent of Americans favor it2,3. And we will be left with a system that costs employers more, that costs the insured more, that continues a vastly inefficient and inequitable system, and that will leave more, not fewer, Americans uninsured.
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1 As Obama Hosts Summit on Healthcare, Marginalized Advocates Ask Why Single Payer Is Ignored, from Democracy Now, Mar 6, 2009. All notes accessed Mar 12, 2009.
2 Poll Excludes Single-Payer Healthcare; Respondents Implicitly Endorse It Anyway, by Jerry Policoff, from OpEd News, Mar 12, 2009
3 Poll: 73% of Voters Think Health Care Reform Must Include Choice of a Public Health Insurance Plan, by Robert Creamer, from the Huffington Post, Mar 10, 2009
tags: Health | Governance

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