Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Broken And Bloated Healthcare System

"According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the $6,102 spent per person on healthcare in the United States in 2004 was nearly twice the amount than in most other industrialized democracies and well beyond the average $2,660 of the organization's 30 member nations. At the same time, the average life expectancy in the United States was shorter (77.5 years) and the infant mortality rate higher (6.9 deaths per 1,000 births) than elsewhere in the developed world."

"Employers are increasingly opting for cheaper insurance plans with higher deductibles and co-pays, thus saddling workers with a greater share of costs. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 18% of all covered workers now face annual deductibles of at least $1,000, up from 12% in 2007. Among smaller businesses with up to 200 employees, more than a third of workers have deductibles of at least $1,000, up from 21% last year."

The above two quotes show just how broken and completely out of control the healthcare system is in the United States. While the insurance companies are getting richer and richer, most Americans are receiving less and less adequate healthcare coverage. In fact, the only people happy with our current system are the rich and the insurance companies. The rich don't need the health insurance and the insurance companies are making billions off the broken system.

Even the doctors and hospitals know our current system is a joke. They must wait an ever increasingly long time to be paid for their services, and then many times receive only partial payment. In addition, the medical caregivers can no longer make treatment decisions for most of their patients. The insurance companies now make those decisions by limiting what procedures they will pay for and how much they will pay for them.

Add to the above medical deficiencies these additional facts. 1)Over 47 million Americans (many of them children) have no health insurance at all. 2)The ever rising costs of employer-based insurance is becoming a severe hinderance for American companies who must compete with foreign companies (who's employees have government-provided insurance). 3)The continually rising portion that must be paid by the worker is in effect a pay cut -- something that is certainly not needed in our failing economy.

There is a solution, but that solution cannot leave for-profit insurance companies in charge of our medical care. These huge corporations will always place their profits over a patient's health. No, the only solution that makes sense is a universal single-payer government-run system that puts doctor's back in charge of making healthcare decisions, and preserves the patient's choice of doctor and hospital.

There is such a system that has been proposed by Rep. John Conyers. It is called the United States National Health Insurance Act (H.R. 676). We must avoid half-way measures that would leave insurance executives in charge. We must demand nothing less than a single-payer system. Nothing short of that will cure all the problems inherent in our current system.

Go to this website and check out Conyers' bill. It's the best solution I've seen.


  1. While that's the best plan I've read about recently, I don't want to wait 15 years for it.

  2. I agree. I think it could be implemented faster.

  3. There's also the solution from when I was a child -- outlaw for-profit hospitals and insurance companies. When my mother entered nursing in 1973, for-profit hospitals and insurance companies were *illegal* in our state. All primary care hospitals were required to be non-profit organizations, and all health insurance companies were required to be mutual companies, owned by their rate-payers. The only people who made profits were the actual doctors and nurses within the system, and that gave them the slack to give charity care to those who were not insured and who were unable to pay.

    The system worked back then. It doesn't work now. The difference? Profit. Profit simply is toxic to the well-being of patients in a healthcare system. Sadly, starting in 1975 state laws prohibiting for-profit hospitals and insurance companies were systematically overridden by federal laws, until we reach the current situation...

    - Badtux the Healthcare Penguin


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