You'd think that the country that spends the most on health care -- that would be us -- would have the world's best health outcomes. Far from it. Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare describes how health care in America has turned into a business.
Medicare is far from perfect, but it works. Though it's true that Medicare will consume a growing percentage of the GDP in the long-run, it's the dysfunction of our overall health care system that is driving up costs. We cannot risk privatizing it for political expedience.
America has talked socialized medicine for decades but that's as far as it went. It threatens the American principle of freedom of choice, a mantra the GOP likes to claim as its own but it is one few really disagree with.
Employed Brits pay national insurance on top of income tax that covers pensions, health and social security. It's not perfect, but it works. The relief of receiving medical treatment, no questions asked, is enormous and, frankly, priceless.
Even by the standards of people who believe that it's okay to do just about anything to make money, WellPoint consistently goes too far. Their turbo-charged greed is out of control, and their lack of any moral compass is shocking.
The public option was never a coherent, well-defined policy tool. It's an amorphous concept that stands as a symbol of reform and as a perceived antidote to the greed and callousness of the insurance industry.
Obama created the space for the Democrats to work. He outlined a lot of stuff, but did not get specific in the semantics. He opened up the lane once again for prima donna Congresspeople to drive in for the layup.
The New York Times recently reported that the Obama administration is heeding a list of six lessons from previous efforts to reform health care. Unfortunately, the three most crucial lessons were left off the list.
The trick in reforming the health insurance system lies not in taking away profits from insurance companies, but in changing the paradigm in such a way that their greed would guide them to provide better health care.