09/17/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

U.S. and Health Care: The Madoff of Nations

Bernie Madoff, if he was a health care policy expert, would be proud of the fact that greedy Wall Streeters, and their Republican sidekicks, appear to have beaten back health care reform again through fraud.

Hopefully, the stock market leap in values, as health care reform withers, will make more Americans realize that the same vested interests that brought the world to its economic knees want to continue to be in charge and profit from America's lousy health care system.

Health care reform is like the Madoff scandal -- there's plenty of evidence that something is wrong, and certainly smelly, but nobody's prepared to do anything much about it. Like the fraudster who got 150 years in jail, the current health care establishment tells lies, discredits detractors and pretends that everything's alright.

And the mass media also falls flat in executing its responsibility to expose dishonesty or educate, thus helping the health care perpetrators prosper.

Most offensive and preposterous is the rhetorical question posed in some Republican/anti-reform advertisements: "How would you like to have a civil servant determine who your doctor will be?"

Here are the facts. Civil servants have absolutely nothing to do with medicine in Canada, Europe or Japan. Residents are able to pick any doctor or specialist they wish and medical help is based on need not on the size of someone's wallet or their insurers' sign-off.

The appropriate question should be to Americans: how do you like to having insurance company adjusters determine who your doctors will be? How's that been working for you so far? How is that working for the 42 million without insurance and the millions more who have minimal insurance?

The facts are really quite simple and the U.S. media should be hung out to dry for its inadequate knowledge and for repeating falsehoods.

Here are the universal health care benefits in other countries:
1. An end to expensive lawsuits over medical costs. (could save 3% of GDP)
2. Dramatically lower healthcare costs (10% of GDP compared with 15% in U.S.)
3. Improved life spans and lower infant mortality rates
4. An end to personal bankruptcies due to medical bills.
5. A healthier, more productive workforce.
6. An economic underpinning for unemployed persons because they are not frightened of going broke or pushed over the financial edge if they, or their family members, get sick.
7. Lower health care costs mean greater economic competitiveness for the U.S. and competitive costs for businesses.

Why can't the United States figure out how to fix its critically ill system when other countries have done so, decades ago?