I Vote For Universal Health Care
by James Glaser
March 2, 2009

For the last five years of my late wife's life, I spent weeks on end in hospitals getting her care. After that time, there was almost a year taking care of her in the Hospice program until she died. I can tell you, just like we have "haves" and "have-nots" financially in America, we have haves and have-nots in the health care system in America, too.

To tell you the truth, I don't care what conservatives say about government not being able to do a good job running a health care system, and I don't care about the cost. I am sick and tired of seeing the rich, and the political elite of this country having the best medical care in the world, while the rest of us are treated as second class.

Give us the health care that the Senate and the House of Representatives voted for themselves.

The people who say that health care should be between your doctor and yourself, and that they don't want some government bureaucrat making decisions about their health care, must have a vested interest in keeping the government out. Doctors no longer have any say in our health care. It is the HMOs and insurance companies who decide what kind of care we get. Any care they can deny us, is money in their pockets.

Many people get their health care paid for by their employer, but if they want to add on a family member that cost is usually six hundred plus dollars a month extra. Nobody gets one health plan to cover everything. There is one plan for bodily health, another for dental, another for vision, and then there is drug coverage. Most plans have nothing for mental health costs.

Every plan has different coverage's and different criteria for payment, and much like our tax code, health plans are not easy, by design, to understand.

Most Americans have been brain washed into believing that a single payer health care system would be a bad thing for them, but that brain-washing was paid for by the health care and insurance industry with millions of dollars in advertising. I bet a lot of columnists have been paid handsomely to put their two cents in against any universal plan, too.

Sure, it is going to cost us a lot of money, but it would be a lot cheaper than our trying to become an Empire. All we have to do is spend our money on our citizens, instead of fighting wars on the other side of the world. Some how, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, and the rest of the countries in WWII learned that wars are terrible and expensive. They have managed to stay out of most of them, while we have been in some war constantly since 1945.

All of those other countries have universal health coverage for their citizens, and they can afford it because nobody in their countries are trying to get rich off the misery of others.

Here is America, many wealthy people derive their income from profit made on health insurance policies, stock in for-profit hospitals, for-profit health maintenance organizations, and the drug industry.

I don't care what it costs. I don't want to ever go to a hospital emergency room again, and see the lines of poor people waiting for charity care.

Take a look at the Veterans Affairs Hospital and Clinic system. It works well. Sure it could be better, but Congress doesn't really want to fund health care for any cannon fodder that made it through. They are forced to do what they do for veterans now, because if they didn't, nobody would sign up to fight in new wars. Congress needs new wars to keep people in the Defense Industry rich, so they can fund their campaigns for reelection.

Like I said, I want the same health care for every American that Congress votes for themselves. I don't care what it costs. If it costs too much, then we won't be able to bail out Wall Street or the banking system. If that money isn't enough, we will have to stop spending more than the rest of the world combined on weapons systems. It is about time that the American citizen comes first and for-profit corporations second.

Post Script:

I read about "America's Stupid Health Care Debate," written by Dave Lindorff yesterday on the Common Dreams web site.

Here are a couple of paragraphs about how health care works in Canada.

It is a sad commentary on the pinched and strictly censored level of political discourse in this nation that any serious consideration of Canada's successful approach to health care is simply out of bounds in America. It is nothing short of absurd that even though the nation that is closest to the US geographically, culturally, linguistically and economically has, since 1973, had a system of provincially administered single-payer government-run health systems which have kept the country's health costs at about 3/5 of what they are in the US as a percentage of GDP (9.7% vs. 17% for the US), at the same time serving all people and (not surprisingly) achieving better health statistics than the US, no one in Washington has talked about inviting Canadian health authorities down to explain how their system works and whether it might make sense here.

Canadians have complete freedom to choose their physicians. They pay nothing to go to hospital. I interviewed one hospital administrator in Canada who had worked earlier managing a US hospital. He said a whole wing of the facility in the US was devoted to billing and accounting staff, while he had only two people for that job in Canada, "mostly to handle the bills of the occasional American tourist!" (Some 20% of every US health care dollar goes for paperwork.) Interestingly, when I interviewed the CEOs of a number of huge Canadian subsidiaries of US corporations, they universally told me that they were ardent supporters of the Canadian system, and in fact, were involved in lobbying to have it expanded to include long-term care and psychiatric benefits.

My son was born in a hospital in International Falls, Minnesota and three years after that my daughter was born in a Fort Francis, Ontario, in a Canadian hospital. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I do remember that the bill for my daughter's pre and post natal care and the delivery in Canada was one eighteenth of the cost of just the delivery in Minnesota.

Like I said, we have been brain-washed into believing that universal health care is substandard to the health care we have here now. The reason we have been brain-washed was to keep rich medical industry people, rich. It has worked for a long time, and you know they will be up against any plan President Obama puts up.

We can no longer afford to make one segment of America wealthy by selling access to health care. If we believe that all men are created equal, then as a nation we must treat them as if we really believed that.

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