The American work force increases its productivity year after year, yet all too frequently this does not translate into greater profits for the employer or raises for the employee. So who does benefit from increased productivity? The health insurance companies who yearly raise their premiums at twice the rate of inflation. Those premium increases occur because we operate the most inefficient health care delivery system in the world. By 2014 the taxpayers of America will be presented with a shocking bill for using that inefficient system to cover the previously uninsured. The solution : replace our existing for-profit system (before it takes ALL our money) with one identical to Britain's National Health Service.
In the years following World War II the United States and Great Britain each took a right path and a wrong path. The right path for us was that we were faithful to the capitalistic system which had brought us so much prosperity. Our wrong path was to embrace a collectivist approach to medical care we call "health insurance."
Britain in its postwar years fell under the spell of socialism. Their government nationalized a number of industries and subsidized others. That country suffered as a whole generation of Britons experienced low economic growth and diminished prosperity. Part of that movement, though, was the creation of the British National Health Service which opened for business July 1, 1948. Americans have traditionally and disparagingly referred to the British system as "socialized medicine"--a reputed catastrophe of long waits and inferior service to be avoided at all cost. We have rejoiced that we weren't dumb enough to fall for it. But I say, look again America. LOOK AGAIN!
In 1979 the United Kingdom elected conservative Margaret Thatcher as prime minister. During her eleven years in office she undid the socialism by selling off the state run companies and ending state subsidies to corporations. In short, she returned her country to a free enterprise economy, with one very significant exception--the British National Health Service. That service was and is the most efficient deliverer of health services on earth, and no true conservative would touch it. Plus, the service was (and remains) extremely popular with the British people.
The greater efficiency of the British way is gained four ways: 1. It provides universal coverage out of tax revenues thereby eliminating the health insurance middleman 2. A National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence made up of medical experts decides what tests, procedures and medicines the National Health Service will pay for. (If you want treatment not approved by the institute, you must have insurance or pay out of pocket.) 3. Their medical practitioners are more into preventive medicine. 4. Medicines approved by the Institute are bought in bulk.
I want it understood that I am proposing the adoption of the existing British National Health Service in its totality for service ASAP to over 90% of our population (the same percentage of Britons that use it.) I additionally propose that the United States refrain from establishing its own board of medical experts for at least three years as I believe we need that time away from for-profit health care before an unbiased board can be formed. During that time we would accept and implement the dictates and decisions of the British board.
Private health insurance would remain an option here just as it is in Britain (where it frequently acts as a supplement to the national system.) Medicare and medicaid would be superfluous and would no longer exist.
The British system is comprehensive and has evolved over its 63-year history. It includes dental care utilized by over half the population. (National Health care dentists provide free-to-the-patient care for those under 19, pregnant, or on public assistance and charge others considerably less than their private counterparts.) The British system also operates nursing homes available to those with low assets and income.
I believe it is essential that we adopt a long-established health care system developed by a people who eat a similar diet and whose language we share. We can use our recent census to allocate the necessary monetary, physical and personnel resources to deliver quality health care from day one. The Brits have the kinks worked out, and their program comes complete with a Patients' Bill of Rights and safeguards against long waits for elective surgery.
Major hurdles to adoption of the British system include entrenched ideology, tradition, and just all round resistance-to-change. Soon after signing his health care legislation, President Obama was proud to say that he "hadn't given in to the left."
But countries do from time to time adopt systems that are contrary to their prevailing ideology. In 1978 the Chinese Communists decided to adopt American style markets--including for-profit health care--in place of an inefficient state-run economy. Today the Chinese enjoy a free enterprise system that has produced a miracle of growth and prosperity. (From all reports, though, the Chinese people despise their for-profit health system.)
Can America overcome resistance to replacing a grossly inefficient, noncompetitive and wasteful health system? While the Chinese traded in their inefficient state-run economy for a better one, they only had to overcome dedicated Marxists--not the army of outraged and terrified lobbyists that for-profit health care will sic on Washington. (I say "terrified" because future lobbying fees, many beyond most imaginations, will be lost forever upon enactment of this program.) It can't happen without a sympathetic House of Representatives. Just as essential will be a favorably inclined U. S. Senate that adopts at its convening a 51-50 majority rule that allows the V. P. to break a tie (not its old filibuster rules or even a 51-49 majority rule.) Then and only then will this be accomplished.
Although most Americans recognize that some services are best delivered by government, many question whether health care should be among them. The ultimate test as to which is best: its efficiency. It is the comparative gross inefficiency of the American health care system that makes government operated health care both desirable and necessary. President Obama has stated numerous times that he is hopeful that the health care legislation he signed into law will save $1 trillion over the next ten years. Yet on July 28, 2011 Health Affairs published a report that actuaries at the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Service project annual 5.8% increases in money spent on U. S. health care through 2020 with medical care by that time representing one fifth of the economy. They also project increases in the government's share of that spending.
I am confident in asserting that, once implemented, A NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE WILL SAVE THIS COUNTRY OVER ONE TRILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.
Where a government entity provides a service-- be it fire, police, highway repair, street maintenance, military, or library--it does so because it can and does deliver that service more efficiently than the private sector. The bottom line: 8.1% of UK gross domestic product goes to health care ($2,992 per person) versus 16% of U. S. GDP ($7,290 per person.)
What do we get for the money we've been spending? Americans should all be living healthy happy lives to age 95! Unfortunately, longer life expectancy is not provided by our system as the UK's is 79.1 years, the US's is 78.1 years.
Some other comparable figures: infant mortality rate is 4.8 per thousand births for the UK, 6.9 for US; physicians/ nurses per 1,000 people are 2.5/ 10.0 for UK, 2.4/ 10.6 for US; percent of total health costs paid by government (versus individuals/private insurance) is 81.7% for UK and 45.4% for US.
But here is the comparison that's sickening. Great Britain provides universal health care at no charge to the patient, while we don't even come close to providing that service. Would you believe the UK spends 15.8% of its government's revenue on health care while we spend 18.5% (and rising) of our government's revenue? That's just how inefficient our system is and why I assert that OUR FOR-PROFIT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IS RIPPING US OFF, AND THAT THE MOST INEFFICIENT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD (OURS) MUST BE REPLACED WITH THE WORLD'S MOST EFFICIENT (BRITAIN'S).
Let's look at the issue from a morality and fairness perspective. At a recent family reunion, someone commented that North Carolina's Blue Cross CEO makes more than $4 million. A cousin from Baltimore countered, "So what's the big deal? In Maryland the same job pays over $8 million!" Oddly enough, it's the general/family practitioners--the ones who are on the front line of medicine and whose diagnostic skills and abilities are critical to quality health care-- who presently earn the least. With adoption of the British system: GP's would make closer to $200k (up from the $120k area), specialists would earn around $165k (near a Congressman's pay but down from today's $340k average), expenditures for health insurance premiums would shrink dramatically, and drug company profits would shrink to more reasonable levels.
With our health care costing over 2.4 times what the British are paying (again that's $7,290 per person vs. $2,992), at what point do we call it corrupt? Corrupt, not in the sense of being illegal, but corrupt because unconscionable amounts of money are unjustifiably made off the sickness and suffering of our fellow man. Let's replace for-profit health care with a National Health Service for most Americans while preserving the for-profit system for those who have the means and desire to pay for it. And let's do it now!
The Democratic National Convention chose John Haywood as the candidate for the 2012 Presidential Elections. John Haywood promises a lot of great things for the country like Universal Health Insurance, Proposals of solutions for the widening Global warming, and Abortion/ Gay rights.