Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Health Care In The United States is Broken

Health care in our country is broken. Big time.

Almost everyone agrees on that. Costs are far too high and the overall benefit and quality of our health care system now ranks below those of many third world nations including Malta's and Costa Rico's. We rank just two notches above Cuba, an economically blasted nation as a result of nearly 50 years of strident economic sanctions courtesy of the US of A.

Most other advanced nations around the world are appalled such a country as rich and advanced as ours does not provide basic health care for huge segments of our population. Even larger segments receive seriously sub-standard care. Many people do without basic preventative medicine because they simply cannot afford it. The added costs due to this one factor alone is immeasurable.

Just compare us to one country, Japan
, which ranks #10 worldwide on health care versus the United States which ranks #37. In Japan, 87% of all health care costs are paid by government, in the US 46%; Life expectancy in Japan is almost 5 years more than in the US,. Infant mortality rate in the United States is 246% of Japan's, while our per capita expenditure on health care is 271% of that of Japan's. It is painfully obvious something is dreadfully wrong here.

Why is this? The answer in three little words is pure and simple: GREED, GREED, GREED.

A large number of individuals and corporations grow rich off sick Americans. The sicker more Americans are, the richer they become. Sure, it's cynical, shameful and outrageous, but it is also a stone cold shameful fact. They pull this off because of our much revered 'capitalist' system, which is supposed to reward those who are innovative and who work hard, but often doesn't work that way. But, if you dare to question capitalism in this country you will surely be attacked as 'Communist', 'socialist', or at the very least a 'tax and spend liberal'. All swear words 'conservatives' love to use and throw at moderates of any stripe.

The American Medical Association stridently opposed Medicare 30 years ago, and continues to oppose anything that changes the status quo to this day - even though they acknowledge something is seriously wrong. The American Health Care Plans group, which represents insurance companies spends buckets of money to influence Congress against change to the status quo. And why should insurance companies want any change? They don't really care to what astronomical heights cost rise since their earnings are a percentage of total costs after all. They do BETTER when costs are high!

The health sector has increased political lobbying funding by 35% since 2004,. Significantly, 54% went to Democrats in '08, versus only 39% in '04. How cynical is that, and who said money can't buy you love? Whoever said it first never saw a US politician in action I guess.

Capitalism in the US morphed several decades ago into a welfare system for corporations and the very rich. When money is allowed to dominate the people's interests at the voting booth, our present mess is the inevitable result. All this has been aided and abetted by every Republican administration since Ronald Reagan, and a great many Democrats helped along the way too. And these people seriously claim to be 'conservative'. Something indeed, is rotten in Denmark.

The very label 'conservative' is very misleading, since the ones calling themselves that today are nothing of the kind. That is unless you are referring to the conservation of the status quo, wherein rich multi-national drug companies enjoy obscene profits off the ills and woes of the populace, and where insurance companies write their own rules, and where politicians votes are bought and sold like tickets at the county fair.

A serious attempt to make a change is being made today, as we have seen it tried in the past. But, the mere mention of 'health care reform' brings out all the big guns, and all the stops are pulled. Because, if real health care reform actually occurred in this country, that would jerk the biggest lollypops on Earth out of the mouths of those growing rich on the backs of the dismal US health care system.

A huge organized national campaign is being orchestrated to block reform. So-called 'Town Hall' type meetings on the issue are getting blitzed in an cynically organized 'grassroots' campaign, where speakers are shouted down and meetings disrupted in deliberately rude, vicious, even threatening ways. "We the people" are being manipulated to block needed reform for our own good. A litany of lies and distortions is being repeated in lockstep all over the country. It is in fact, frightenly very similar the tactics used by the Brownshirts in Germany in the early 'thirties.

If you don't think it's orchestrated, just check the Fox News web site to find their 'Go To Town Hall' lists showing meeting places and times all over the country. Separate lists for Democrats and Republicans of course - and strikingly different. You may view these as published by Fox in PDF format by clicking on the following links:

The right wing continues to caustically demonize our current administration for daring to seek health care reform. The administration is responding by attempting to offset the lies and distortions being widely disseminated by the combined forces of cynical greed, avarice and misinformation. There is a sinister and organized concerted effort from the right wing to 'shout down' all supporters of any reform and keep them from even being heard. Lies and distortions are the ammunition of choice. One glaring example is Sarah Palin weighing in with her semi-hysterical rant on the subject:

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society’ whether they are worthy of health care.”

It seems Sarah must be drinking her own Kool-aid. There is NOTHING in the proposed bill which is suggestive of such outrages. But facts seem to matter little to Palin and dogmatic types like her. Her outrageous claim has been thoroughly debunked many times, including by FactCheck.org, a non-partisan operation dedicated to checking out claims and political staements.

Sarah of course isn't alone. There is a loud and sustained shouting emanating from the various vested interests, wome of which get downright ridiculous. Here's another example.

Hopefully most of our public is enough in touch with reality to see through the hypocrisy of the right wignuts. I remain hopeful the public will see through these scams, but I am not so sure. Let us fervently hope the American people are not fooled into accepting the status quo yet again.

Let us fervently hope!

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