Thursday, June 7, 2012

Killing health care reform

When the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, kills the Affordable Care Act known as "Obamacare," or upholds it 7-2, meaning the war over health care flares anew, it would be nice, but unrealistic, to think we could finally achieve a "single-payer" system in this country.

Big business, those not connected to health insurance or pharmaceutical companies, are in favor of a single-payer system similar to Medicare.

Recently, the Big Three automakers and the auto-workers' union signed a letter to the government that national health care should be "preserved and renewed."

Of course, we're talking about Canada. And yes, we're talking about General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler.

Here are some highlights from the joint letter:

"Canada's publicly funded health care system provides essential and affordable health care services for all Canadians, regardless of their income. Publicly funded health care also enhances Canada's economic performance in several important ways."

"Workers in the auto industry, and in the many manufacturing and service industries which supply automakers, benefit directly from access to public health care services. Thanks to this system, they are healthier and more productive. Employers in the auto industry, meanwhile, enjoy significant total labour cost savings because most health care services are supplied through public programs (rather than through private insurance plans.)"

"The public health care system significantly reduces total labour costs for automobile manufacturing firms, compared to the cost of equivalent private insurance services purchased by U.S.-based automakers; these health insurance savings can amount to several dollars per hour of labour worked. Publicly funded health care thus accounts for a significant portion of Canada's overall labour cost advantage in auto assembly, versus the U.S., which in turn has been a significant factor in maintaining and attracting new auto investment to Canada."

"For both employers and workers in the auto industry, it is vitally important that the publicly funded health care system be preserved and renewed, on the existing principles of universality, accessibility, portability, comprehensiveness, and public administration."

As they have learned in Canada, a government single-payer health care system is far more efficient than private insurance plans, plus the health outcomes are better.

Here's a link to well-documented story on how Medicare in America is more efficient than private insurance companies.

Topics in the piece include:

1) Medicare has controlled costs better than private insurance.

2) Medicare has lower administrative costs than private plans.

3) So-called "competition" in the private health care market has driven costs up.

4) Medicare is publicly accountable, private plans are not.

Anyone who has private health insurance, whether through a government employer or on your own, knows that your costs increase about 20 percent a year, while your coverage decreases about 20 percent a year.

Does anyone know a doctor whose income increases 20 percent every year?


That money goes in the pocket of health care executives, some who "earn" in excess of $20 million per year for increasing insurance premiums while denying coverage. 

It's a crooked system that needs to be destroyed. 

"Obamacare" won't get the chance to prove its worth, but it doesn't matter since it is not a single-payer system.

Canada, and other industrialized nations, know that a single-payer system works. 

For a comprehensive and authoritative account on how America's health care system stacks up next to other developed countries, check out T.R. Reid's "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care."

Or, you can wait for the Romney-Ryan health care plan, which essentially eliminates Medicare so that executives at insurance companies can make a few more millions per year.

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