Timid tinkering with US health care is not a solution
By D. Grant Haynes
Online Journal Contributing Writer

May 18, 2009, 00:21

A high priority of the Obama administration is an overhaul of the health care system in the United States.

In this writer�s opinion, timid approaches that can be most easily sold to Congress -- approaches that reflect an attempt to placate the American Medical Association by fine tuning the present system -- will amount to no meaningful improvement.

The American health care system needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

The problem with U.S. health care is that it is predicated and built primarily on a foundation of privatized for-profit capitalistic greed rather than on a Hippocratic oath to serve mankind.

Private physicians, physicians� groups, hospitals, medical labs, radiologists, medical insurance companies, and pharmaceutical firms all skim off their share of profits for the pleasure and edification of stockholders before an ailing man�s typically astronomical bill is tallied. That, in a word, is why the bill is typically so astronomical.

This greedy, profit-maximizing approach to alleviation of human suffering is morally reprehensible.

The solution to U.S. health care problems is to dismantle entirely the present unworkable, top heavy, profit intensive absurdity of a private health care system -- one that lends itself to medical malpractice suits because so much is being done shoddily in the quest for money -- and adopt a universal health care program similar to that of every Western nation on earth except the United States.

Let the doctors and specialists now amassing millions in the private medical system become well-paid civil servants of the people in a nationalized system in which their careers and compensations are performance based.

Yes, Americans would probably have to pay for an equitable health care system with higher taxes. But many Americans are now paying hundreds or thousands monthly for insurance premiums, co-pays, supplemental coverage, catastrophic coverage, prescribed drugs not on lists provided by medical insurance companies of approved drugs, and in a hundred other small and invidious schemes that line the pockets of various middle men in the medical and pharmaceutical industries of our hodgepodge system. Eliminate those unfair burdens on the American family and most would be happy to apply some of the savings to a fair and equitable universal system in which the only criteria for admission and treatment is need.

The receptionist�s first question would then be, �What�s your medical or dental problem today?� rather than, �Do you have an insurance card? I need to make a copy of it?.�

National health insurance programs assure the health of the public in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and virtually every European nation from Great Britain, to Germany, to Liechtenstein. And life expectancy is greater in these nations and 38 others than in the United States, according to the CIA World Factbook. Our nation ranks an unenviable 45th on the list.

Even South Africa, a very poor nation by Western standards and only decades removed from apartheid and Bantustans, is attempting to provide universal health care for its masses.

In Asia, Japan has free universal health care, and China and India, with their incomprehensible (to an American) problems of poverty, overcrowding, and squalor, are committed to the morality of the concept that a man, woman, or child is entitled to basic health care -- not because he or she has a Blue Cross card, but because he or she, as a citizen of the nation, has an unalienable right to be free from sickness, debilitation, and pain.

Not so here, but one can hope that will soon change.

Label the single payer universal health care system that must come �socialized medicine,� if you wish.

Socialized medicine -- a pejorative term only among brainwashed Americans -- would be a good thing.

Socialized medicine is long overdue in America.

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