Jelly, jelly so fine

Friday, July 24, 2009

Feelin' Allright

I have been sort of following the recent debate on national health care. I think that we need to move towards that option. I read the WHO report the other day that America ranked around 37th amongst developed countries (sandwiched in between Costa Rica and Slovenia) in regards to the quality of it's health care. (At least we outrank Slovenia.) Approximately 48 million Americans are currently without any form of health insurance and only have access to healthcare through the hospital emergency room.

Ipsos has a new, July 21st poll out that measures the differing attitudes of Americans and Canadians regarding the health care that they are receiving in their respective countries. According to the poll takers, Only half of U.S. adults (49%) agree that they currently have access to all of the healthcare services they need without it costing them more than they can afford. In contrast, two thirds of Canadian adults (65%) feel this way.

When I was visiting my brother in Toronto two years ago, I queried many of the people that I met and they all expressed universal happiness with their health care system. Pretty much to a person. This idea promulgated by the AMA that Canadians are unhappy is unfounded in my experience. My sister in law Julia is a long time RN and has worked in both systems and favors the Canadian.

In addition, according to the poll only 37% of those in the U.S. with a household income of less than $50,000 say they have access to and can afford all the healthcare services they need, compared with 60% of those who have a higher income level. The spread in Canada is much smaller - 61% of those with a household income of less than $55,000 U.S. report having access to and being able to afford all the healthcare services they need vs. 70% among those who are more affluent.

An earlier Ipsos poll from July 16th shows that a slim majority (52%) of Americans favor a public option. 60% say their would be no diminution in the quality of care with a public system.

I am not a Doctor - I only play one on the radio. But I have been a too frequent patient. I was lucky enough to get insurance two weeks before a heart murmur was discovered two years ago. I would be totally devastated right now if I had to shoulder the $135,000.00 cost of the initial surgery.

Now you bad ass, free market, libertarian types would probably want to know what business you have subsidizing the costs of my healthcare. I feel the same way when my property taxes are used to educate your kids, since you deigned to breed them. Or every time a cockamamie politician (from either party) pushes through a weapons program that the Pentagon doesn't want or need to bring jobs to their district. Or we get another 300 billion dollar defense overrun. Or you have to macho out and start a useless war. Or paying for abstinence training. Or the ton of other crap that we spend money on, like bailouts to the large banks so that they can gobble up the little banks. It''s the kind of sacrifice that we make for our fellow Americans.

Healthcare is what civilized countries provide their citizens. We just aren't there yet.


Sanoguy said...

Two key indicators of the quality of a country's medical system are the infant mortality rate and longevity. The U.S. ranks very low on both of those measures as compared with the other industrialized countries.

I have a number of friends who say we have the very best medical system in the world. They don't want to hear on how we actually measure up to other countries. This is typically called the "ostrich syndrome."

They also fail to acknowledge that we already have a single payer system for those over 65 (Medicare) and we have full on socialized medicine for our veterans (VA). Is now the time to get rid of those evil socialistic systems??? Poll that, Robert!! I guarantee you that hardly anyone wants to get rid of those parts of our medical system.

North County Film Club said...

Well put !!!!
I really don't understand why everyone doesn't want universal health care. Why is it so easy for them to accept the propaganda when it's coming straight from the insurance and drug companies. How can so many people be so stupid ? I always wonder why they think it's o.k. to pay for schools, fire and police depts., libraries, parks, roads, etc. etc. but not health care. Luckily I've almost never needed any health care and avoid going to the doctor, unless I'm dying, which so far hasn't happened. But it's so easy to see the chaos of our system on friends and in the news. I'm furious and not sure what to do. Your post sure said it all. You should publish it somewhere that more people could read it. Where would that be? You'd be a good columnist on The Huffington Post.