While this recent poll is not scientific, 70 pollsters throughout social media networks voted for one statement that best matched his or her fundamental view or opinion about the current health care debate. The first statement in the poll, “I oppose govt.-ran health care programs because I don’t like the idea of government making health care choices for me” gained four votes. The fourth statement, “I oppose govt.-ran health care programs because it would limit my ability to obtain appropriate health care” garnered three votes. According to the proposed health care reform measure, these statements are not applicable. In fact, “Treatment decisions will be made by your doctor and you. The government will not interfere with your relationship with your doctor.*” Contrary to popular belief, many American citizens have been grossly misled by partisan health insurance-sponsored advertising stating that government-ran healthcare programs such as a public option or Medicare-for-all measures would include the notorious death panels. A U.S. News article cites an advertising campaign conducted by Americans United for Change that debunks this myth. In fact, the real death panels are practiced day in and day out by medical insurance providers like Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield, among many others. *
The third statement in the poll, “I oppose govt.-ran healthcare programs. Why should my taxes pay for someone else?” received three votes. The truth of the matter is that average-working American citizens are already sheltering the burden of others’ healthcare costs through programs like the VA, Medicare, Medicaid, Champus, TRICARE, and through medical-cost hikes on behalf of the uninsured, etc. What we have today is a system of he said-she said. What I mean by that is that there are countless folks on either side of the aisle who have their own dogmatic perspectives on how to pay for healthcare – whether through private health insurance carriers or government-ran plans. Neither has been able or willing to come to the table and discuss health care reform priorities on intelligible levels. Biased partisanship has played an extreme role in this landmark debate, and will continue to do so until the American people are made fully aware of the truth surrounding the discussion.
Speaking of TRICARE, a government-ran health care insurance program that has not seen a rate increase in 15 years — Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Michael “Mike” Mullen voiced his own concerns about the costs of rising health care, suggesting that “health costs are making it more difficult to buy weapons or stay ready.”* Ironically though, it is this dogmatic form of prioritizing that furnishes private health insurance companies with the go-ahead to raise rates for profit, while consecutively reducing coverage; and denying health care treatments and health coverage for those with carefully-selected “pre-existing” conditions. Government-ran TRICARE, which by its own standards claims it “is an enormous and very complex health care system,*” covers an entire family at very minimal annual costs (between $0 – 460). That’s a far-cry from private insurance premiums upwards of $5,000 – 12,000. On a 2008 TRICARE Stakeholders’ report, there were 9.2 million TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries at a cost of roughly $42 billion annually.* Amazingly, this budget included the day-to-day operation of military hospitals, medical clinics, and dental clinics; dental coverage, medical military construction, and medical military personnel (both civilian and military), among other items.
One of the primary* reasons why the private health insurance industry opposes new government-sponsored health plans is its very-real threat of being driven out of business. That fear confirms that government-sponsored health plans would in fact work proficiently – why else would they fear such reform? Furthermore, in a report published by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, estimates suggest : “that if a substantial part of the financing of care received by the uninsured is already in the public sector, then some share of these funds is potentially available for transfer to new government efforts to extend coverage to those currently uninsured.” Imagine that!
Support for health care reform and potential government-sponsored health plans was overwhelming. Of the poll respondents, over 70 percent were in favor of some type of government-ran health care system. The majority of pollsters agreed with the following statements:
- I support government-ran healthcare because healthcare should not be a privilege, it should be a right. (19 votes)
- I support govt.-ran healthcare because too many people do not seek healthcare due to high costs. (11 votes)
- I support govt.-ran health care because it will allow equal care to ALL and not just a select few. (13 votes)
- I support govt.-ran healthcare programs because it may boost productivity and overall work moral among this nation’s citizens. (11 Votes)
Truth be known, the United States of America is the ONLY industrialized nation* that does not have universal healthcare for its citizens. Among the numerous countries that have universal health care, 39 are in Europe including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, and many more. Here’s the twist –the United Nations compiled a Human Development Index (HDI) that demonstrates the positive effects of having some form of government-sponsored health care system. (Thanks to Michael Freeman for locating and publishing the graphic here: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=31098068&id=1184986311&ref=mf) Consistent with the report, the US is ranked 12 beneath Iceland, Canada, Ireland, Japan and Finland, among others…and losing traction. If Universal health care is so scary, why do so many countries have it working so soundly for them? Lord Chesterfield said, “Physical ills are the taxes laid upon this wretched life; some are taxed higher, and some lower, but all pay something.” If we are already paying so much (and some with our own lives) why would we not agree to better ourselves and the lives of those who cannot?
Nine percent of voters had other opinions. One such pollster took the time to thoughtfully add her comment, “There are pros and cons to both sides of that coin. I want to see the cost of health care brought under control. If it takes government intervention to accomplish that then so be it. There is far too much waste in the health care industry. When you have insurance you are often told you need tests and treatments that are often unnecessary. When you don’t have insurance you are often told that you don’t need these things even if you do. I have personal experience on both sides of this issue,” said Elaine.
Jayson commented, “The govt. does a great job with the mail service. Keeping prices low, they’re a great alternative to the pricier services which don’t really do as good of a job. I figure if the private sector can’t beat the U.S. Mail, govt. run healthcare is likely to be much better than private insurance.”
“My daughter is a college student and got sick,” says Marie, “Since she’s too sick to carry a full load and had to come home, her insurance was dropped. No coverage just when she needs it. Her meds alone are 130.00 for 30 pills. What a racket.”
Another gentleman, Philip, wrote that his daughter, who has a rare autonomic system disorder, was approved for one hospital in his area for diagnosis via his spouse’s health insurance carrier. He told me that “subsequent treatment payments were denied after diagnosis because she was ‘out of network’ despite the fact there are only two specialists in his region.”
Of course we’ve all heard the death panel stories of big health insurance companies. We’ve all exchanged our experiences with the medical establishment…the ups and downs. But somewhere along the line, we have got to realize that our population is growing at a phenomenal rate whilst at the same time economically, we are earning less and spending more. How much is your life worth to you? How much do you value your spouse’s or your child’s life?
The fact of the matter is that government-sponsored health care systems work. They have been proven to work time and time again in a cost-effective, beneficial manner. Today, the facts are in – and according to the article, “One American dies every 12 minutes:”
- Terrorists in American prisons receive medical treatment
- Health care insurance CEOs earn millions of dollars annually
- People without health care insurance have a 40 percent increase in risk of death
- Health care insurance companies have increased rates by 130 percent in the last decade
- In 2006, the average employer-based health care insurance plan cost over $11,000
- The United States ranks 43rd in infant mortality rate
- Health care insurance companies put profits before life
These are just some thoughts and facts to consider when you reflect on the state of the Union and the health of this nation. How many more of us must die before we can finally say we are truly free?
Report: Opposition and Support for Government-Ran Healthcare Programs
By CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd – Social Media and More