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Sunday, December 17, 2017

America Needs a Genuine National Health Service

Credit: DAN EHRLICH
No Worries about Health Care

Obama's Plan Looking More Like McCain's--Could the the VA Show Us the Way?

“An insurance company’s dream,” is how former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean termed the Obama health care bill taking shape in the Senate. Dean, himself a physician, claims it further empowers private insurers at the expense of consumer choice.

"You will now be forced to buy insurance. If you don't, you'll pay a fine," said Dean. "It's an insurance company bailout."

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., a prominent House liberal, protested the absence of any government-run insurance option in the Senate bill.

As time moves ahead in the routine way Washington operates, the measure that was to be the keystone of the Obama Administration might wind up as the plan advocated by his election challenger John McCain, sort of an extension of Medicare designed to enrich the private sector.

The problem with health care in America is our population’s unrealistic and erroneous fear of socialism, things that already exist in the country, but since we don’t call them by that term no one knows how they operate.

Yet, it’s this fear and the endless propaganda spewed out by the greed mongers in the health industry that maintains America’s anti socialist mindset.

Our post WW2 Marshall Plan was designed to prop-up largely socialist nations in Western Europe. At home things such as Food Stamps and welfare are socialist programs.

But the biggest socialist program of all is the Veterans Administration Medical Service, one that you could argue approaches communist stature in that there is no class distinction at VA medical centers and honorably discharged vets are guaranteed either free or co pay medical treatment for life. Vets can even get buried at VA cemeteries.

Howard Dean is probably correct in his view…a medical plan run through the private sector would create a feeding frenzy in the insurance and drugs industries.

So what’s the answer? Bite the bullet and create a proper state run health care system like ones located in civilized countries, such Canada and the UK. After all, the US is bankrupt any way…we might as well go whole hog like the sub prime mob. And believe it or not, with the VA system we have a good start.

Yes, that’s right…why not expand the VA into a national health service? And, this doesn’t mean cutting back on veteran health care. But, with 280,000 employees in scores and scores of health centers, the VA offers us a template and good start for a true national health service.

Yet, the main problem with this idea is that it’s too simple and logical for politicians to grasp, such as the irrigation canal from the mouth of the Mississippi to our southwestern states. Obvious things such as these don’t register in the political mind.

Maybe this will. When I returned to London in August I was pitching in a softball game and took a line drive in my face that knocked a hole through my lower lip. A teammate took me to a local hospital where they quickly stitched me up and saw me for a few follow up sessions to treat the small scar. The cost to me: 0. A month later I had an hour-long operation to remove a membrane from the retina in my right eye. The cost to me: 0…. No co pays, no prescription fees, nada.

This is how civilized societies act. Compare this to our free enterprise culture where medical bills ruin families or people die for lack of treatment and medicine. If it comes to choosing between a greedy, heartless HMO based free market system and socialism, I will take socialism every time.



About the Writer

Dan Ehrlich is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on America Needs a Genuine National Health Service

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By Tom Lewis on December 17, 2009 at 06:41 am

Amen, Danew. For some reason it's okay to have socialized highways, socialized investment banks (only when they're losing money) and socialized agriculture (most agribusiness would fail instantly without the government subsidies), socialized nuclear power plants. But health care for ordinary people? Too civilized.

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By The Gaming Gentleman on December 17, 2009 at 08:14 am

Hi,

Just throwing my hat into the ring from across the "Pond", and I honestly do not intend to interfere with American politics or cast judgments or aspersions on your system. Having watched the news (as I always do) from several different counties I am aware that healthcare reform in the US is a massively divisive issue, and not taking either side here (awaits taunts of fence sitter!) I thought I'd just drop a couple of points from the British perspective. We have free healthcare. I know Sarah Palin would have you all believe that we have an "Evil" system with faceless bureaucrats holding your life in their hands, but that's simply not true. Our system is not perfect, but it gives medical cover to everyone from birth to death. This includes all aspects of medical care from maternal to accident and emergency to critical care, dental (awaits bad British teeth jokes) and high tech treatments such as laser surgery, MRI etc. Everyone is covered, everything is covered. In my life I have suffered several injuries and ailments including being run over by a car, which saw me in hospital for over a month. It cost me nothing. All of the care I received, all of the man-hours I used, all of the drugs I was prescribed, cost me and my parents (as I was 11 when I was run over) nothing.

Everyone in Britain gets the same treatment, legal or illegal, friends or foes, visitors and workers from other countries. If you came to England to see Buckingham Palace, Abbey Road and other such tourist attractions and were hurt in any way you would be treated, released and would have no bill to pay what-so-ever. Prescription drugs cost you about £9 or $14 ish (unless you are under 18 or over 65 when they are free) regardless of the drug prescribed or the quantity. And how does this magical, mystical system work you ask? National insurance. Every man and woman in the UK (including foreign workers) pays a small percentage of their income (means tested) to what we call National Insurance. It works, our NHS is the biggest company in Europe and employs hundreds of thousands of people. Our doctors are well paid and have comfortable lives and the system benefits everyone.

You can choose to go private if you prefer, that is your prerogative. We do not have healthcare insurance companies over here in the same way you have them in the states because we don't need them. It's not perfect. There can be waiting lists, but everyone gets treated. There can be less choice, but everyone gets treated. You can wait a few hours to get your eye stitched, but everyone gets treated. I believe you can judge a nation by how it treats it's poorest and whether people are flocking to it or running from it. I am proud of my nations efforts to help everyone. Americans have a big decision coming to them soon, but to my only words to you would be to not listen to what other people tell you or scare stories they may throw at you. Look at the evidence and decide for yourselves what you think would best benefit you, your families and your country. Best of luck. TGG

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By LesleyMo on December 17, 2009 at 10:19 am

Excellent article, Danew. And thanks so much for your input, Gaming Gentleman! With your permission, I'd love to email your response to my right-wing friends who are terrified of turning into a "Socialist" country by putting our big bad government in charge of health care. Good grief. I think we have ample evidence of what happens when profit-driven corporations are in charge.

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By The Gaming Gentleman on December 17, 2009 at 04:26 pm

Lesley, you are more than welcome to forward my comments. All the best,

TGG

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By Lady D on December 17, 2009 at 05:21 pm

We must write our congress and Obama and Say No MORE CRAP.

Thanks for all

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