Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Great American Health Care Joke

Turns out that a good number of American's really will never know what's good for them, or at least be made that way by some of the more bizarre parts of their media. (On another note, check out the top of FOX News' website. Under the badge their slogan is 'Fair and Balanced'. Akin to the Daily Mail saying 'We don't hate immigrants)

I'm talking about that demon of the right, American health care reform. Reform that doesn't go half of the way to taking the country up to the standards of the rest of the developed world, but at least its a start. So you'd have thought people would support helping even out the horrendous inequalities in their system and helping money go to the patients care rather than the insurance companies, but no, the majority hate that idea. 55% of them support repealing the whole thing, and 6% aren't sure.

In a commonwealth fund study (that compares Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Holland, Germany, the UK and the US) the US came bottom overall, and either bottom or second bottom in every single measure. All this despite spending by far the most money on its health care system in the world. (Interestingly, the UK spent the second least, and came 2nd, despite some seeming intent on slagging off the NHS)

So, for the most amount of money of any country spending on health care, they get a system that's not as good, not as effective, and leaves millions of people without any cover whatsoever. They're simply left to their illness. It's frightening.

You can't leave your health to the mercy of the markets, these insurance company's have no desire to help people beyond the point that they can make money out of them, and when it's a matter of life and death that's just not good enough. In the same way a I advocated for reform of drug companies to take away the demons of profiteering, American's need to accept that to have a civilised health care system you need to share the burden between everyone. If you leave it up to people then obviously they won't want to be on the same policy as someone who is ill and will cost them money, but that's the way it has to be so that no matter who you are or what you earn, your life is considered worth saving.

So, we can only hope that this new fad of going to the courts to overturn the law in 20 states will die out, and that over time people will see that it really is in the interests of everyone to share the burden of health care.

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