Monday, October 27, 2008

Health Care and the Election

The election is upon us, and seems like with the way the economy has gone down the tank, this has distracted the public focus away from the candidate's positions on health care. I have wanted to blog about health insurance for some time, but I have hesitated to do so for a number of reasons. In particular, I really seem to be the Lone Ranger when it comes to ideas about how to reform it. Again, I have decided to mull it all over more and it'll have to be a future blog. One thing I seem to be deciding: if empoyer-provided is going to be our system outside of Medicare and Medicaid, true reform may be impossible.

I got this far and thought I'd pass it on.
I checked it somewhat and Web MD seems to have the best comparison on the candidate's positions on health care. Health 08 is more comprehensive but gets over my head pretty quickly.

For what it's worth, here is something else I came across.


Marsha said...

Here is the main problem--the two choices are employer provided which is what we have and is unfair to those like me who are self-employed (hey what about doing something for the small business guy!) or some universal government led system which many in this country believe to be the road to communism. No way no how can we leave it to the "free market" or we will have millions of people in worse shape than they are now.

Since I am a college student, studying health, I get to think about these things. Here is the first thing I think this country needs to do to make some health care progress--get over the myth that the US has the greatest health care system in the world. It is simply NOT TRUE!. We are something like 14th far behind those radical socialist countries like Norway, Finland (which is #1) and Canada. And guess what--in those "socialized medicine" countries, people are not dying in the street from lack of good health care. In fact, they are healthier and better cared for. Our health care system is great for those who can afford it. But we are the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide health care for all of its citizens on some universal basis. We need to do it. It is am embarrassment that we have an infant mortality rate as high as we do. it is an even worse embarrassment that we pay the most for health care cots in the world. Something simply has got to give. In my mind, the first thing is that we need to educate people to ralize that we are not the best. I think once we realize that other countries have better health care, we will want to model on them and do it even better. But the free marketers will never accede to this idea so we are stuck in ridiculous accusations that socialized medicine is anathema to US patriotism.

I will see if I can find it but we saw a wonderful piece on PBS about Japan's health care system, which is rated #2 in the world. Their system seems terrific but it is based on the idea that the government essentially sets the price for every service--from office visits to brain surgery. Everyone in the country pays into the system like insurance based on those costs. The citizens get to go to whomever they want and preventative health care is encouraged. It is all covered under this medical plan. Frankly, it sounded great and the citizens loved it.

Bottom line, the free market does not necessarily lead to the best health care.

Alas, until the free marketers are banished to the margins, this will never take place in our country.

That is my two cents.

Carlw4514 said...

One thing to remember is that the people in those countries where the health service is supposed to be so good often really complain about the problems. I'm not sure we always get an honest report on that.

But I'm not here to defend the US system, it's out of control.

Maybe I'll get that particular post done on the subject one of these days.