If you've read this blog for very long, then you know I believe this country needs a government-run single-payer health care system -- Medicare for everyone. I have said it many times and in many different ways. For me, it is the only logical answer to our broken health care system. Obamacare was a good step in the right direction, but it falls far short of what is really needed.
A friend and fellow blogger, vjack of the excellent blog Red State Progressive, has written a very good post on this subject. I agree with every single word he has written, so I am reposting his intelligent analysis here:
The debate of health care reform in the United States has been focusing on the wrong questions. Obsessing over whether the Affordable Care Act makes President Obama (and Mitt Romney) socialists is pointless. Deciding whether an individual mandate is a penalty, a tax, or something else entirely is relatively trivial. We should be asking ourselves how to expand coverage, reduce costs, and improve patient care. Fortunately, there is an obvious answer.
Expanded Access to Healthcare
We need to reduce the number of uninsured people down to zero. Not only is this a moral imperative (i.e., health care should be a basic right and not a privilege), but our health care costs are higher because of the large number of uninsured people we now have. That is, those of us with health insurance pay much higher costs than necessary to subsidize the uninsured. The U.S. needs to join the rest of the industrialized world by providing universal healthcare.
It makes little sense that people would end up in poverty in the wealthiest nation on the planet simply because of a medical emergency. Our healthcare costs have gotten out of hand, and little relief is in sight. Expanding access is prohibitively expensive as long as we remain wedded to our current healthcare system. However, we already have two extremely effective models for how to simultaneously expand access to healthcare and control costs: Medicare and the VA healthcare system.
The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other industrialized nation, and our healthcare outcomes are not particularly good. Other nations offer superior care for much less money. Too much of what we spend for healthcare does not go to patient care at all but to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Along with improving access to healthcare and bringing down healthcare costs, we need to focus on improving patient care across the system.
The Solution: Single-Payer
The solution is fairly obvious: the U.S. needs a national healthcare system. If you poll the general public, you will find that a majority support a single-payer national healthcare system. If you poll physicians, you will find the same thing. If you examine the data in other industrialized nations with single-payer systems, you find universal coverage, lower costs, and better patient outcomes.
The Obama administration shut down serious discussion of a single-payer system early in the process and killed the public option next. This is unacceptable. The Affordable Care Act may be a small step in the right direction, but it ignores the obvious reality that we need a single-payer system.
Read The Full Article: