â€œIt will basically be a government law that says you have to buy their defective product,â€ says Dr. David Himmelstein, a professor at Harvard Medical School and a founder of Physicians for a National Health Plan. â€œNext the government will tell us a Pinto in every garage, a lead-coated toy to every child and melamine-laced puppy chow for every dog.â€
â€œHealth insurance is not a race to the top; it is a race to the bottom,â€ he told me from Cambridge, Mass. â€œThe way you make money is by abusing people. And if a public-option plan is not ready and willing to abuse patients it is stuck with the expensive patients. The premiums will go up until it is noncompetitive. The conditions that have now been set for the plans include a hobbled public option. Under the best-case scenario there will be tens of millions [who] will remain uninsured at the outset, and the number will climb as more and more people are priced out of the insurance market.â€
Chris Hedges | CommonDreams.org
Nearly every other advanced country has a largely nonprofit national health system that guarantees universal care. Even countries with private insurers, like Switzerland and the Netherlands, require uniform prices and benefits and limit profits. Not only are expenditures much lower in other advanced countries, but health outcomes are generally better. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, they offer on average more basic services, not fewer — more doctor visits and longer hospital stays, and they have more doctors and nurses and hospital beds. But they don’t do nearly as many tests and procedures, because there is little financial incentive to do so.
Marcia Angell, M. D. | HuffPost
In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really “foreign” to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we’re Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we’re Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we’re Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we’re Burundi or Burma: In the world’s poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can’t pay stay sick or die.
T.R. Reid | CommonDreams