Congress had struggled for years over whether something should be done about the lack of health insurance for millions of folks in this country. These folks had no insurance and virtually no access to the health care system in one of the richest countries in the world. Finally, last year a bill was passed. Unfortunately, the debate over healthcare didn’t end when the bill became law. Instead, the debate has greatly intensified. There have been numerous court challenges to the new healthcare law that will eventually wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court. State legislatures also have passed legislation designed to exempt citizens from their states out of the bill passed by Congress. The National Republican Party has made what they refer to as “Obamacare” a hot political issue for 2012. What they fail to realize is that the issue could wind up being bad news for the GOP candidate for president.
It might be a good time to take a look at how healthcare works around the world. Public Citizen is absolutely correct when it says, “the world is now divided in two” on healthcare. The clear division is between countries that cover all of their citizens with health insurance and those who don’t. The United States would have to fall into the second group.
There are countries that make it unlawful to profit off of basic health insurance. Unfortunately, there are those countries that allow for health insurance corporations to profit off of the sick. Health care is a human right in some countries but unfortunately there are some countries where it is not. The bottom line appears to be if you can afford it, you get treated. But if you can’t afford it, you won’t get treatment and you may die. In other words, you pay for your treatment or you may die. Most poor countries in the world are “pay or die” places in which to live. Remarkably, all too many of the citizens in our country fall into that same category. It has been reported that 45,000 Americans die every year from lack of health insurance. Tragically, that’s 120 a day who die as a result of having no health insurance. By way of comparison, in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Germany, Taiwan and Italy, health care is a human right, where it’s unlawful to profit off of basic health insurance. Simply put, everybody is in and nobody is out.
When it appeared that we would finally have the long-awaited opportunity to pass healthcare reform, those who had fought so hard and so long were elated. But then the powerful health insurance lobby mobilized, organized and made plans to take over the bill and change it to their liking. With the health care insurance and pharmaceutical industries directing the debate, a sensible concept, Medicare-for-All, which is single payer, never received serious consideration. In fact, it was taken off the table very early by the Obama Administration and Congressional leaders with little fanfare. Some type of single payer plan makes sense, but nothing of that sort had a chance to get through Congress. The American people got health care reform, but not the reform that would take control from the insurance industry and guarantee all citizens in America a basic right to health care.
Public Citizen tried to get Congress to do the right thing, and while at least things for some citizens were improved, there remain serious problems for many others. That’s why Public Citizen continues to take on the powerful corporate interests that have blocked real healthcare reform. Amazingly, despite its enormous popularity and unparalleled record of success, powerful Republicans in the House are now proposing to destroy the existing Medicare system. They would slash benefits for the elderly and leave older Americans at the mercy of the for-profit insurance industry. But the fight is not just about protecting the existing Medicare system, it’s about ensuring that all American citizens receive health care as a matter of right.
Regardless of how the new health reform ultimately plays out, there are two things for certain: Millions and millions of Americans will remain with no health insurance; and, it will leave the for-profit insurance industry in charge of prices and life-and-death treatment decisions for those who do. The only way to ensure that everyone is covered and receives healthcare is with a single payer system. And with millions and millions with no health insurance, many thousands will die every year from lack of coverage or access to healthcare. Surely, that is something that can’t be tolerated in a country such as ours. But as we approach the election year, the attacks on the healthcare law passed by Congress get worse and worse. When you consider that the attacks are on an Act of Congress that left lots to be desired, it’s rather sad to see that those who need and deserve adequate health insurance will have little impact on the ongoing debate.
Source: Public Citizen
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