Here are a few random thoughts about health care reform:
First, we absolutely require health care reform. This is not a nice to have, it's not about a long term wish list, we absolutely must have health care reform. It's the smart economic move. It's also a moral imperative.
Now let me tell you something about public health care. There's a lot of fear mongering going on these days about how bad public health care and "rationing" are. I would like to call bulls*** on that. The system we have in the US today can hardly be called a system. It's complex and it is unjust, but perhaps worst of all it's wasteful. Our system forces us to resort to all kinds of strategies for saving some money on medicines and treatment while ensuring that billions go to waste on needless administrative costs. Have you received a bill from a hospital recently? You are practically expected to haggle, much like you are in a rug store or a used car dealership.
I was born and raised in Israel, a state which offers a public health care system and in which each and every individual has health insurance. The health care in that country is no worse than the health care we get here. In fact, in many respects the health care system and the service to individuals is far superior to our experience in this country. I recently went back to visit my old homeland and had a first hand experience with the health care system. Comparing that experience to a previous visit to the emergency room in one of the top hospitals in the US, the service and quality of care we got abroad was superior. Hands down.
Last week I watched Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman being interviewed by Charlie Rose on PBS. Here's an interesting statistic: according to Krugman about 60% of dollars spent on health care in this country are already spent by the government, between Medicare, Medicaid and the VA. Think about that the next time health care lobbyists try to sell you horror stories about how the country will go to the dogs if we adopt a public health care model.
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