Friday, September 11, 2009

It's The Money Stupid

 I thought this article on Truthout was a funny 'tongue in cheek' rant that simplifies why we should have health care reform.  If you don't think it's funny, just look at the facts it contains. Facts are still stubborn things. 

( I have edited it a tad.  If you want to read the entire article here is the link:   

by: John Cory, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    The media tells me that health reform is a very complicated issue, that it is hard to understand and even harder to explain to simple-minded and politically unsophisticated people like me. It is about money and costs and free-market and big government socialists versus real America, or something like that. 

    So, I ask: How can the majority of other industrialized nations manage to provide affordable health care to their citizens?

    The fabulous media roll their eyes and show me the following Organization for Economic Development (OECD) report:

    Total health care spending per person as of 2007:
    US: $7,290
    UK: $2,992
    Japan: $2,581
    Canada: $3,895
    France: $3,601
    The average OECD expenditure: $2,964

    Next question: If other countries spend less than half of what the US spends (on average) with good results, where does all our money go?

    This is where my neat-o media suddenly points across the room at the man jumping up and down about wanting his country back or the lady hollering about the Muslim socialist in the White House. Look, look they say, Jerry Springer politics is so entertaining!

    But I still want to know where all that money goes. Don't you?

    We spend twice the money on health care as most other countries and we are supposed to just accept this as the cost of a free market, the price of being American? Let's face it folks, if health care was manufacturing or Walmart, the jobs and services would already have been outsourced to the cheapest foreign competitor.

    I'm not a journalist or a particularly educated guy, but golly, gee whiz Batman, it seems to me that somebody is getting ripped off here - and that somebody is, us.

    Here's more figures I hear tossed around without examination: The administrative costs of Medicare run about 3 percent while the corporate health insurance industry administrative costs hover at 30 percent.

    How can that be? I thought the government was really bad at managing anything while private enterprise is expert at cost containment. But the businessmen require ten times as much overhead costs as big government politicians?

Whatever happened to the old adage "follow the money?" Who in our media or journalist-pundit class is willing to give up the ratings gold of raucous town hall meetings to investigate where our money is going?

How much of that $7,290 per person in the US goes to exorbitant CEO salaries? How much goes to lobbyist funding to deregulate the insurance industry? How much is waste and fraud? How much of that money is actual medical treatment?

This is America, the greatest nation with the best health care in the world. I know, because my TV tells me so. But something is not right here. Something is off.

America is the home of innovative capitalism. Europe is a bunch of socialistic democratic republics. How can they provide health care at a lower cost? How do they get lower drug prices than we do? Why can't we?

Lift one rock and you find more and more. Medical bankruptcy comprises 50 percent of all bankruptcies nationally. And 80 percent of medical bankruptcy comes from people who have insurance.

Treatment clinics set up by Remote Area Medical on American soil from California to Kentucky just to provide basic health care to those who cannot afford it. Think of that: A medical organization that specializes in Third World underdeveloped countries has to fill a need in America, the wealthiest country in the world.

Is this what we've come to? The value of a healthy life is determined by deductibles? Does the value of a life have a monetary cap? Is life itself a pre-existing condition? The corporations that sell insurance think so. They sat before Congress and justified "rescission" as a cost-effective management tool, and no matter the examples of ruined lives shown to them, when asked how many of those executives would put a halt to these practices, not one manicured hand was raised. No need to fear government death panels - they're already here in tailored suits and silk smiles that say, "Show me the money."

    US: $7,290 - the average: $2,964 - results: Quality is fairly equal. How can that be?
    It's always about the money.


kenju said...

I like the cartoon, Darlene. You can fight insurance companies, if you persevere. We got coverage for one of mr. kenju's pills by having the doctor write a "letter of medical necessity" and following that up with a litter from an attorney.

joared said...

Great cartoon! Ridiculous the hoops people have to jump through to get special dispensation for denied health care at a time when the ill person is struggling to be healthy.

Lots of really good concrete dollar figures here for comparisons.

Rain said...

There are differing opinions on Medicare's actual overhead costs because they have ways to not show it all but the non-profit insurance companies like say in Minnesota are doing it for 10% which means there is 20% that the profit ones are getting for fat salaries or profit to stockholders. You wonder why Obama doesn't want to go to single payer. It's actually the stock market because a lot of those profits make stocks look good at the expense of the sick.

Basically insurance does nothing to improve our health. It's a way of shifting money around and obviously the for-profit insurance companies have shifted a lot of it to their own pockets.

Darlene said...

*Kenju - Good thinking; a letter from an attorney will get their attention every time.

*Joared - As they say, figures don't lie, but liars can sure figure.

*Rain - Good point. Insurance companies have just one job; to make money. That is their only reason for existence.

kathy said...

I love the cartoon!

You know, even after a person gets the treatment, they can have trouble with insurance, the pre-existing conditions make it very hard to change jobs too.

Looking to the Stars said...

Love the cartoon! I agree where does all that money go?

My dad told me "they always take the money". Greed is the #1 love here in the good ole u.s.a.
Sad isn't it :(

Darlene said...

*Kathy - You are so right.

*Looking to the Stars - It always comes down to two things; money and power.