The Jaker

Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005
Make healthcare a priority
I just got around to reading Nick Kristof's October 2nd column, discussing the problems with healthcare in the US. I know I've talked about this issue many times before, but it is imperative that we impress these points on the public as a whole, and make this issue one of the cornerstones of the Democratic Party platform going forward.

Healthcare in this country is a giant mess:
- There are 45 million uninsured people, who get medicare only by ambulance.
- It's by far the most expensive in the world, with poor results (life expectancy lower than Costa Rica). Next time Bush says we have the "world's best healthcare system", throw your arms in the air and shout your head off. It's a ridiculous statement.
- It hurts businesses (like GM) that have to provide healthcare and face spiraling costs.
- We spend way too much on administration ($1059 per person per year vs $307 in Canada, a single payer system).

Most hypocritical of all, Kristof points out, is that we spend billions and billions on care for the dying elderly, who are automatically insured, while millions of young children go around uninsured.

It would make so much sense to switch to a national system. Practically, we would preserve the ability to pay a premium for premium private service... this is the only feasible way to get the wealthy to go along with it. But at least everyone would have a baseline of insurance coverage and access to basic services.

It's good to hear Democrats talking about something like a Contract for America as part of their 2006 mid-term election platform, which I've read will focus on Energy Independence (so important), Healthcare access, and Terrorism Prevention. To me that's the ideal combination. Now let's start getting it done.
posted by CB @ 12:25 PM  
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