Access to affordable health care. Five words. Easy to write. Rolls off the keyboard fluidly even. Simple phrase; political cesspool. Can universal access to affordable health care ever happen in the U.S.?
Paul Krugman, the economist whose columns appear in the Opinion section of the NYTimes, this week reminds us that the failings of our health care system are manifest: we spend more, but get less – fewer covered and lower life expectancy than in any other western economy.
Moreover, the usual suspects (our lifestyle) and the usual bugbears (socialized medicine!) are distortions and outright lies.
By PAUL KRUGMAN | Published: November 9, 2007
The United States spends far more on health care per person than any other nation. Yet we have lower life expectancy than most other rich countries. Furthermore, every other advanced country provides all its citizens with health insurance; only in America is a large fraction of the population uninsured or underinsured.
For those fortunate enough to have health insurance, premiums keep rising, and employers are beginning to push employees to pay more of the freight, or even to start to pay additional for their lifestyle choices.
For example, several cases have hit the news recently where employers have fired, or failed to hire, otherwise qualified people who are smokers.
Aside from the disturbing privacy concerns, the entire concept of group insurance (where the large numbers of average members in good health balances those few with greater needs) is at risk here.
But, as Krugman tells us, what apologists and politicians like Rudy Giuliani have done is blanket us with excuses, not solutions, and inaccurate and downright wrong excuses at that.
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
As a reluctantly, increasingly active consumer of the U.S. healthcare system, one of the luckiest ones covered through a plan 80% subsidized by my employer, I take for granted that I see medical professionals regularly, for the cost of a nominal co-pay up to that 20%. For what is spent, my experience should be the rule and not exceptional.
Armed with Paul Krugman’s excuse-busters, let’s all work to shed light to undo all of the misinformation out there on this subject.
It’s it for now. Thanks,