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On the new U.S. health care insurance bill

This is a reply for a message in a mailing list. The poster complained that the new U.S. health insurance bill is completely socialist and will bankrupt U.S. within couple of years; also that military budget is in danger and military coup a very real possibility due to the healthcare insurance bill.

My reply got longer and longer, so I decided to post it here as well.

Sorry, but it is idiotic to call health care bill socialist. Sounds like the stupidity from the Fox News or parroting inanities spewed out by Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.

U.S. has the worst health insurance in the developed world. There is absolutely no denying it. According to a Harvard study, 45 000 people die yearly in US because lack of the health insurance. Huge amount of people are completely uninsured, because they cannot afford insurance – and many people cannot be insured because of the pre-existing conditions.

Saying that because of the decent health care, U.S. will go bankrupt sounds something like from those ridiculous tea parties – which, by the way, were by and large attended by people who already had government-paid health care. Maybe they didn’t realize that – I am sure that once they would have, they would instantly quit the socialist system and started paying.

Health care is fairly small number compared to GDP in most of the countries. U.S. is once again an exception – due to the current system, prices for all medical care have skyrocketed. Those welfare socialist countries with universal health care spend 7..11% of GDP on health care. U.S. spends whopping 16% of GDP on health care – and no, they are not getting better health care because of it, quite the opposite (also remember that GDP per person is higher in US then many of those countries). If anything, the health insurance bill should have been far, far more radical – cutting prices across the board, lowering overall percentage spent on health care and so forth. But political realities being what they are, I guess that was impossible.

Here is OECD report on spending and quality of the health care – http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/46/2/38980580.pdf – infant mortality is still half higher then average in U.S. – and five or six times higher then in Scandinavian countries. This is considered one of the best measurements for quality of the health care.

The estimate for how much the passed health care system would cost differ widely. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that under the new bill, the spending will be 20.9% of GDP by 2019 – quite a lot of increase… unless you compare it to the estimate without the current bill, which is 20.8%. 0.1% difference. Wow, the bankruptcy due to the new health insurance is an immediate danger!

Now, the military. U.S. spent 4% of GDP on military in 2005. It has risen since, but probably still less than 5%. Those "socialist" countries spend between 2..3% on military. Considering that U.S. spent five to eight percent more on health care then they did, but the difference in spending on military is less then that…. hmm. Maybe those countries got something right with their health care system?

Why do you think that so many U.S. citizens with health issues go to Canada for their operations and medical procedures – still paying fully themselves for it – and have to pay less than half of what it would have cost them in U.S. Don’t you find it weird, that neighboring countries can have so different prices? No nagging inner voice, that "party line" could be wrong, perhaps I should look at numbers and use with my own head instead for once?

3 kommentaari »

  1. Your American friends all applaud….Well, those of us that are not “tea baggers”. Your reply was excellent. Thank you!

    Kommentaar kirjutas Lawdy — 2010-03-22 @ 14:26:20 | Vasta

  2. […] wrote a reply to a tea-bagger, who is of the opinion that this will bankrupt the US, causing spending on military […]

    Pingback-viide kirjutas Health Care Bill passes in the House!!! — … this life I lead … — 2010-03-22 @ 15:01:21 | Vasta

  3. This U.S. “popular” opposition to health care reform is a joke. Its mopped up by Murdoch & Co and does not actually have a coherent agenda, only thing that unites them is hatred against the “ugly present” and yearning for “good old days” when everyone had lots of money… sorry, credit. The tea party movement channels, in very amateurish and populist manner frustrations of various confused rightwingers whose beliefs are actually mutually exclusive. We all know what happens to populists – populism is a political doping. By playing to emotions, promising to take the masses back to childhood, you can amass a lot of power very quickly, but without clear, united economic and political platform it disappears like a smoke.

    However, the way the Democrats act in U.S. is disgraceful. They have watered this bill that was too moderate to begin with down to the point where its basically pointless. They have the public mandate, *they* should be the ones offering pressure to the right not the other way around. And its not only USA, its the same in all western countries: the “unassailable” “rational” positions of the Right have been proven to be so much hot air, yet the Left has become so corrupt and disillusioned that it is unable to do what needs to be done. *They* themselves believe they are wrong, naive, brainless, “bleeding heart liberals”.

    In my opinion the current political system in most countries can be summed up like this: the conservatives are wrong and the progressives are wusses.

    Kommentaar kirjutas Lex — 2010-03-23 @ 13:19:23 | Vasta

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