Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We Don't Need A Health Insurance Industry

A couple weeks ago I watched an excellent Bill Moyers program on health care. In the last part of it, he interviewed a pair of doctors who made several points, some of which I hadn't heard before.

The most interesting to me was how Canada decided to do away with its health care industry and replace it with the single-payer system they have today. And despite what you hear from right wingnuts, Republicans, main-stream media .. and even elected Democrats (shame!), the Canadian system is a huge success.

And you will pry single-payer health care away from the Canadians only from their cold, dead hands.

Check out The Greatest Canadian AKA Tommy Douglas (also the father of Donald Sutherland and grandfather of Keifer "24" Sutherland). As premier of Saskatchewan, he presided over the junking of its health insurance industry in 1962, an experiment so successful that it was voted in to all of Canada in 1966.

"OMG it's socialism!" - Damn straight, and it works. Actually it's less socialistic than, say, having collectively funded highways, police forces, etc etc, because in a single-payer system, the health care entities themselves are private. It's just the funding that's public. No bureaucracy, no red tape, no 200% overhead to deal with insurance companies. Private physicians, clinics, and hospitals provide care, they bill the government, and we all pay less tax to support it than we're paying in health insurance premiums now.

The next time you see an elected official bad-mouth single-payer and/or repeat the line that the health care industry knows best, or deserves a seat at the table, whatever... follow the money and find their motivation. These people aren't ideologues, they're just corrupt, for-sale jerks who are forsaking their constituents and giving their benefactors an incredible return on their investment.

In what other endeavor than bribing a politician can you get trillion dollar returns for a few measly million? Only in the United States Congress!

Don't let the health insurance industry buy Congress and the media away from the people who overwhelmingly support single-payer health care. Forget the Republicans, they can't be reasoned with, they don't care about what's best for the country, and they don't matter. They lost BIG, remember? And the only reason they have 40 seats in the Senate is because there's only 1/3 turnover every 2 years.

Forget "the public option". There should be only Medicare, which will suddenly become much cheaper per capita when it isn't just covering old and disabled people.

The health insurance industry is the least essential industry - we need a new word, something like dis-essential - in the world, and we won't miss it one bit when it's gone.


Blogger Mark said...

Hello Bart,

Over the last four years, I saw first hand the care my elderly parents received in Canada, as well as the care of my father-in-law who had cancer of the esophagus. The medical system in Canada is very good and it is FREE.

As a Canadian, we don't have to worry about our health care. I can't imagine living in a country where you have to pay for delivering a baby, treating a fracture, or undergoing an operation.

Per capita, I believe that Canada pays about 10-11% GDP on health care, whereas United States pays about 13-14% GDP on health care. Our system is universal, it covers everyone, whereas the US system has over 70 million people without health coverage. Something corrupt is wrong with this picture.

It is heartening to see so many Americans challenge the status quo of Big Insurance. I wish you all the best in securing a single public medicare system.

Mark D'Arcy
Fredericton, New Brunswick

12:35 PM  
Blogger LC David said...

"We Don't Need A Health Insurance Industry" good post, Really we don't need a private health insurance industry... Thanks for the post..
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7:52 PM  
Blogger Punja said...

Thanks for the post, it so helpful

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11:47 AM  

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