Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Obama's Healthcare Plan

I have been doing a bit of reading up on Obama's Health Care reform plan for a couple of reasons. One because I have become more or less addicted to reading the Drudge report and the report is dead against any health reform. Mind you the the Drudge Report seems to be against any kind of rational reform of the status quo.

The report is an unashamed champion of the lunatic conservative fringe, no unbiased reporting here. The report contains links to vociferous articles opposed not just to Health Reform but anything Obama. Some of the video taken at the so called town hall meetings is as sickening as it is interesting. Not just because you have some fat inbred loser screaming senselessly at a politician brave enough to show up. More because the tactics of opposition are reminiscent of the sort of strong arm thuggish actions that the Mullahs in Iran use against dissent. Or 1930's Germany.

The other reason I find this whole debate so interesting is that I find it difficult to comprehend that the US doesn't have some kind of universal health care for it's population. The most powerful country in the world has a dirty little secret. Well it's not a secret and they have more than one. America cannot ensure that all of it's population has access to decent health care.

An incredible 45 million people don't have health insurance, wastage possibly accounts for up to 30% of medical costs and more interesting still that despite all the money sloshing around in the medical economy doctors are not making enough money. So even if Obama waves his magic wand and there is a new affordable health care system there might not be enough doctors to go round.

If this is the result of a capitalist approach to medical care leave me with the socialist version that I am used to.

The US system appears to be unsustainable with the costs of health care insurance rising faster than wages growth and people simply being unable to afford cover and or being bankrupted after having to fork out for a major illness or accident.

Coming from a country where health care is a basic right for all and where the state run hospitals operate in an environment that also lets people purchase private health care I find it hard to understand that millions of Americans don't have this basic right. If I fall over and break my leg or get sick all is not lost I will taken off to hospital in an ambulance and treated no questions asked. If I have had an accident I will also receive 80% of my wages through a compulsory no fault insurance program that all working people pay into.

The opposition to reform makes a lot out of Obama's plan being anti Capitalist-read anti American and just another example of socialism taking over America by stealth.
But lets face it America doesn't have an economy that runs on pure capitalist principles anyway. Big business and the right wing just use this ideal to get their own way. If America was truly capitalist there would be a couple of big car makers and a few banks that should have gone down the gurgler over the last few months.

It seems to me looking in from afar that Health Reform is crucial for the American economy and the American people. Surely it makes good business sense to make people well as soon as possible and as cheaply as possible, and run health programs to improve the health of all those people with chronic (and to some extent preventable) diseases? And do all this at the best cost?

I guess all this would make sense but the Drug and Insurance companies and the large medical suppliers are more interested in their own profits not of the health of any one or group of individuals. That is free market capitalism.

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