Saturday, May 23, 2009

bill moyers - single-payer health care

Bill Moyers program on single-payer health care was excellent and the advocates for a single-payer system articulate and accurate.

I am a Canadian who has lived under both systems and there is no question that the government run single-payer system is far superior to the private insurance system that preceded it.

americans spend twice as much of their GNP on health care as Canadians to support their private profit system but canada scores higher in the UN Human Development Index health care indicators than does the united states. I suffer from a progressive degenerative disease that requires 5 different precription drugs. because the government of my province negotiates drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies, i pay a very small amount for drugs compared to americans who suffer from the same disease. I also have family living on both sides of the border and i can tell you from personal experience that the canadian system is far superior. my sister had 2 miscarriages and a toxemia complicated live-birth. her insurance companies refused to pay for the miscarriages nor for the complications in the live birth. she was forced to submit to a state operated bankruptcy process and her child was 10 years old before the dead babies were paid for. I only mention this case because of the false ads on US TV that suggest there are long line ups for treatment in canada and that people are forced to leave the country for treatment in the usa. in fact more americans come to canada to get treatment or buy drugs that they can't afford in the united states under the for-profit system.

It's hard for canadians to believe that over 40 million americans have no health care coverage at all. they are forced into tax-starved public hospitals or into waiting lines in charitable facilities. many simply accept illness, death or disability as inevitable.

I was fortunate to have been a friend and colleague of TC Douglas, the founder of canada's medicare system. Tommy was not a godless socialist. he was a baptist minister and a social gospel christian. his medical care commitment should be considered within that framework. I asked tommy how he could implement medicare over the opposition of the doctors and virtually every other political party in canada and in the absence of a model elsewhere in the world. douglas told me that canadian soldiers observed that in world war 2, americans had the best field hospital system of any country in the conflict. after his election as premier in 1944, he told me that he called the US president and had one of the experts from the surgeon-general's office seconded to his cabinet to help him put together the saskatchewan provincial hospital care plan which was Canada's first step towards a single-payer health care system. The fact is that canada's first medicare system was partly based on an american military model. What could be more patriotic?

I think Barack Obama is one of the best things to happen to the United States in many decades. I believe that he would like to establish a single-payer health care system in the united states but he is enough of a realist to know that he is going to be opposed by the real power in the usa: the health-care and insurance industries - organizations that have managed to pay off enough politicians - since Ronald Regan 1948 - to deprive Americans of a comprehensive health care health care system. How many people have suffered and died as a result of the "health" industry's lavish bribery and lobbying is anyone's guess. I believe that if advocates of single-payer will support Obama's effort to set up a system that is partly single-payer, eventually, the single-payer system because of its efficiency will absorb the rest

Posted by: niki nomo | May 23, 2009 3:26 AM

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