Health Care Heresies

Now that the Republicans and their neofascist fellow travelers have taken control of the House they have set them themselves the goal of repealing the recent health care reform the Democrats enacted. Flawed as that reform is it at least will enable 35 or so million people to get some sort of health insurance in the coming years. There are around 50 million without insurance at present. Hopefully these extra 15 million will also be covered. The Republican reactionaries keep harping that we have the "best" health care in the world (we actually rate 37th among developed countries). Here are a couple of examples. The US has "the best medical care system in the world"-- Bob McDonnell, Republican Gov. of Virginia. We have the greatest medical care "the world has ever known"-- Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby. So while reactionaries and rightist may consider denying this to be heretical, the following information from Science Daily may call their flights of fancy into question. On November 29th Science Daily reported the results of an 11 nation study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund: "US Adults Most likely to Forgo Care Due to Cost, Have Trouble Paying Medical Bills, Survey Finds." Of the 11 advanced industrial countries studied the US came in dead last with Americans having the highest numbler having to give up seeking health care due to cost, they also had the most trouble paying their medical bills [some 60 per cent of personal bankruptcies in the US are caused by medical bills another study showed]. Americans, even with insurance, have higher bills, more disputes with insurers, and more often have insurers refuse to cover procedures they thought were covered. This is, of course, because of the for profit nature of health insurance. This is an industry that should be run out of business by a single payer government run system such as Medicare for all. Here are some facts the study found. 1. 33% of Us adults went without necessary care, couldn't see a doctor, or couldn't afford to get medicine; in the U.K. and the Netherlands it's 5 to 6%. 2. 20% of Americans had problems paying for their care while in France it was 9%, Netherlands 4%, Germany 3% and U.K. 2%. 3. 35% of Americans paid $1000 or more out of pocket for medical care last year-- significantly more "than all of the other countries." It goes without saying that the these figures are correlated along class and income perameters. The politicians who most oppose health reform for the poor have, of course, fully covered health care at taxpayer expense which, if made available to regular citizens they denounce as socialism. The lead author of the study, Cathy Schoen, wrote, "In fact, the U.S. is the only country in the study where having health insurance doesn't guarantee you access to health care or financial protection when you're sick." The study also found out that the people on Medicare have less problems with the US medical system than adults under the age of 65. One can hardly imagine, given these grim realities, how Republicans and other reactionaries are able to carry off election victories of the magnitude they did in the 2010 midterms. The vast majority of the American people will continue to suffer not only with respect to medical coverage, but economically, socially, and in education. Yet they have the power of the vote and of wielding it to improve their lives and those of their children. They only need access to the facts, not readily provided by the establishment media. Lets work for and hope that the Left will do a better job of getting the truth out to the American people.

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  • Brothers Riggins and Markowitz make strong cases for progressive activity to save the health of workers, and their children and children's children,in an even genocidal climate.
    The youth,including infants,will be threatened and decimated in the coutoming period,as brother Whitney has recently documented in these windows(please see brother Whitney's recent articles in the PW).
    The elderly,with their special needs will also be wasted.
    W.E.B. Du Bois made the point,in 1961,that we need social medicine in public policy,"..with hospitalization and care of the old."
    It may not be popular to advocate for the elderly,but the seniors are the unquestionable leaders of all communities and we,the communists,should have an organized effort to recruit them and have them communicate,via internet,for as Mayo Angelo(who should be sought out in particular)said recently in St. Louis at my alma mater-UM-St. Louis,we should always rush to say yes to the good thing,if we do,"Who can say where your influence will reach?"

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 12/01/2010 9:48pm (7 years ago)

  • good points tom. It is important though to make it clear that the Republicans are running interference for the insurance companies, who they helped tremendously by killin the public option. It is important for us to take the initiative and educate as you say the American people to understand that the insurance companies are now acting to jack up rates as high as they can get away with to make the work for their interest at the same time that employers are seeking to reduce benefits and raise costs under existing insurance systems. Without a public option, which would have been a powerful force for premium price control, it is imperative that progressives come forward with a price control policy for health care that is based on restricting the profits of the insurance companies and the pharmaceuticals, not making tens of millions of workers who have coverage today with all of its flaws, pay for the tens of millions who have nothing, in increased premium costs, which would be defacto wage and salary reductions

    Posted by norman markowitz, 12/01/2010 7:01pm (7 years ago)

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