J.D.’s “Rx” No Good For What Ails You

February 11, 2009

python_surgeryDespite some of my blogging downtime this week, I should point out the latest drivel from J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times, which he inflicted on his readers yesterday.

You see, he’s been on a “our for-profit private health care system is great and that stinky socialized medicine is bad because you have to deal with bureaucrats like you NEVER do in our current scam of a setup” kick lately because he apparently had to wait at “a government health clinic in North Philly” once with a case of bronchitis where he experienced, “the love and tenderness of a township zoning permit office” (he said his visit took place when he was in college which, based on information he’s told us in prior columns about his education, was probably around the time when The Sainted Ronnie R was president and funding was cut – and speaking of Reagan, I’m currently reading Will Bunch’s book here, and it’s great stuff).

Mullane basically spends about half of this column telling everyone what they think they should be entitled to if they also think they should be entitled to government-run care, and then he spends the other half of it quoting Michael Medved, of all people, who comes along to tell us that “gee, we Americans have it so much better off now than those who came before us 50 years ago, so stop yer’ bellyaching and get back to work” (assuming you have a job, of course).

Well, as Barack Obama noted here in a 2007 speech when he was still a candidate, “46 million Americans have no health care at all (my note: God knows what that number is now). In a country that spends more on health care than any other nation on Earth, (that’s) just wrong.”

And he continued…

In recent years, what’s caught the attention of those who haven’t always been in favor of reform is the realization that this crisis isn’t just morally offensive, it’s economically untenable.

For years, the can’t-do crowd has scared the American people into believing that universal health care would mean socialized medicine, burdensome taxes, rationing – that we should just stay out of the way, let the market do what it will, and tinker at the margins.

You know the statistics. Family premiums are up by nearly 87% over the last five years, growing five times faster than workers’ wages. Deductibles are up 50%. Co-payments for care and prescriptions are through the roof.

Nearly 11 million Americans who are already insured spent more than a quarter of their salary on health care last year. And over half of all family bankruptcies today are caused by medical bills.

But they say it’s too costly to act.

Almost half of all small businesses no longer offer health care to their workers, and so many others have responded to rising costs by laying off workers or shutting their doors for good. Some of the biggest corporations in America, giants of industry like GM and Ford, are watching foreign competitors based in countries with universal health care run circles around them, with a GM car containing twice as much health care cost as a Japanese car.

But they say it’s too risky to act.

They tell us it’s too expensive to cover the uninsured, but they don’t mention that every time an American without health insurance walks into an emergency room, we pay even more. Our family’s premiums are $922 higher because of the cost of care for the uninsured.

We pay $15 billion more in taxes because of the cost of care for the uninsured. And it’s trapped us in a vicious cycle. As the uninsured cause premiums to rise, more employers drop coverage. As more employers drop coverage, more people become uninsured, and premiums rise even further.

But the skeptics tell us that reform is too costly, too risky, too impossible for America to achieve. The skeptics must be living somewhere else… because when you see what the health care crisis is doing to our families, to our economy, to our country, you realize that what is too costly is caution.

It’s inaction that’s too risky. Doing nothing is what’s impossible when it comes to health care in America.

And as Media Matters noted here in 2005..

…according to statistics compiled by the (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) — an international organization of more than 30 countries, including the United States, that “shar[e] a commitment to democratic government and the market economy” — health care costs consumed a higher percentage of GDP in the U.S. than any other member country. In 2003, health care costs in the United States amounted to 15 percent of GDP. Comparatively, countries with nationalized health care such as Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom spent a lower percentage of GDP on health costs. The United Kingdom and Spain each expended 7.7 percent of GDP on health care, while Italy and Canada spent 8.4 percent and 9.9 percent of GDP, respectively. Germany, France, and Switzerland expended 11.1 percent, 10.1 percent, and 11.5 percent of GDP, respectively.

Similarly, a September 2002 fact sheet prepared by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at HHS noted that “[t]he United States spends a larger share of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care than any other major industrialized country.”

Further, with our calamitous economic times, the cost of health care obligations (should businesses choose to provide it, which, as has been pointed out already, is more and more problematic) is making it harder for businesses to return to profitability.

So, I suppose what we should “take away” here is the realization that J.D. and his ideological pals are going to concoct every ridiculous “straw man” argument they can in an effort to derail our efforts in addressing the astonishingly obvious issue of health care reform in this country, to the point where we join every other industrialized nation on earth in providing national care.

And despite his concoctions of Las Vegas “high rollers” living an irresponsible lifestyle who should supposedly have to bear their personal health obligations first (must be a job requirement for anyone at the Courier Times to be a moral scold), the only true “gamble” here is to fail to act.

Stump Rules!

February 11, 2009

Congratulations to Stump the Sussex Spaniel for winning the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last night (great story, as told in this AP report – makes up for the damn standard poodle winning the non-sporting group; who names a dog “Yes,” for God’s sake? Does it eat brie and drink white wine spritzers while listening to Windham Hill music or something?).

(Maybe posting today or maybe not – I don’t know yet.)

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