Medicare for All: The Only Sound Solution to Our Healthcare Crisis

  1. There are additional costs to the haphazard U.S. healthcare system: More than 50 percent of the U.S. population has medical debt problems; between 1981 and 2001, medical-related bankruptcies increased an astounding 2,200 percent and 55 percent of personal bankruptcies are now caused by illness or medical debts, despite the fact that over 75 percent of the bankrupts had health insurance at the onset of bankruptcy and illness.
    Contrary to popular conceptions, the average medical bankrupt was a 41-year old woman with children, some college education; over half owned homes and over 80 percent were in the middle or working classes.
    But for the insured, the United States has the best quality healthcare in the world, right? Wrong.
    A Second-Rate System
    The World Health Organization ranks healthcare systems based on objective measures of medical outcomes: The United States' healthcare system currently ranks 37th in the world, behind Colombia and Portugal; the United States ranks 44th in the world in infant mortality, behind many impoverished Latin American countries. While infant mortality in the United States is skewed toward poor people, who have rates double the wealthy, the top quintile of the U.S. population has infant mortality rates higher than Canadians in the lowest quintile of wealth.
    Out of 30 developed nations, life expectancy in the United States ranks 21st; life expectancy in the United States is 4.6 years less than Japan, 2.1 years less than France and 2.6 years less than Canada. The United States has fewer physicians, nurses and hospital beds than most developed nations. In the United States, 28 percent say it is "difficult to get care"; in most European countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, 15 percent say that. In terms of continuity of care (i.e., five-plus years with the same doctor), the United States is the worst of all developed nations. By every objective measure, the United States has a second-rate healthcare system.
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  3. by   Grace Oz
    We had the same GP for close to 20 years. Sadly, he decided to move to another state. Same with our dentist. Another long term relationship. We still have him! Our GP's are becoming in short supply now, and you need to make an appointment well in advance most times. We have a universal healthcare system here: Medicare. It's available to all Australian citizens. Each employee pays a percentage of their gross income to Medicare through our taxation sysyem, (called the Medicare levy). If you choose to also have private health insurance on top of medicare, that's entirely a personal choice. You only need private health insurance if you wish to be treated in a private hospital.
    No person is ever denied health care in our public hospitals. Regardless of their status, income, race, religion etc etc etc.
    Therefore I'm a bit surprised that this article claims 15 percent state "its' difficult to obtain care", here in Australia. I'd be interested to know where those people live and why they hold this view.

    An American man visiting here a couple of years ago was blown away and HUGELY impressed, with the care, treatment, hospitality, folllow-up, expediency etc etc which he received when he became seriously ill during his holiday here. He and his wife couldn't say enough about the magnificent health care we have in Australia and the way in which they were treated and cared for. AND .... all in the PUBLIC hospital system! He couldn't believe he wasn't asked about money! Money wasn't even mentioned! I'm guessing some kind of arrangement was worked out to pay something towards his treatment, maybe he had travel insurance? But, he was treated first! NO questions asked. No money spoken of! They were featured in a big newspaper article with photos included. While for us here in Oz, it was no big deal, to those Americans, it was HUGE! They both said that America could learn some lessons from Australia.

    Personally, having both worked in the health profession, and been a consumer of it, I'm convinced we have THE best health care in the world!
    Best health care, AND best health care system.
    But you need to know, I'm AWFULLY biased! I'm a PASSIONATE Aussie!
  4. by   Simplepleasures
    Wow, Grace that is SO wonderful to hear, the folks who argue against Universal health care, always say that those countries who have it get poor health care, I am SO glad you set this false notion straight.Any other Aussies out there who want to comment? Or German nurses? English and Canadians also welcome to share their comments on their own nations health care.

    As for Medicare for all I think it will be the program that would work the best, allowing folks to obtain private healthcare on their own dime if they choose to.
  5. by   pickledpepperRN
    You can listen to this commentary - <>

    JAMIE COURT: Some of the biggest names on the Fortune 500 say they want market forces to fix the problem of high health care costs. So they support the government making every American buy health insurance.

    The irony is that if insurers had made health insurance affordable and available, we wouldn't need the heavy hand of government to force individuals to buy policies.

    The likes of Safeway, PepsiCo, General Mills and Pacific Gas and Electric don't have a plan to effectively rein in health care costs. They don't do anything about the inefficiency and profiteering of drugmakers or health insurers whose premiums have risen 250 percent more quickly than the rate of medical inflation.

    That's probably because insurers Aetna, Cigna Healthcare, Pacificare and drugmaker Eli Lilly Co. are part of the Safeway coalition too.

    If the employers don't want to pay premiums, fine. They should just admit the market doesn't work and turn the job over to the government by expanding Medicare. That's how it's done in the rest of the industrialized world, where there's far more efficiency.

    The World Health Organization ranked the USA 37th of 191 countries for "overall health system performance," 72nd for "level of health," and first for "health expenditures per capita." And there's no way that mandatory health insurance is gonna help those numbers.

    Real universal health care means getting every patient access to doctors, hospitals and prescription drugs whenever they need it, so that sick patients don't get sicker. And that saves money.

    Instead, these companies back turning government into a collections agent for private insurers. That leaves American citizens bearing the burden of big costs and high-deductible insurance policies that discourage early treatment.

    That's not reform. It's a bailout for insurers and drug companies that refuse to be accountable for the high prices they charge and the paltry health care they provide.
  6. by   ProudGayRN
    Quote from spacenurse
    You can listen to this commentary - <>

    Quoting public radio? Isnt that a bit left wing biased?

    Quote from spacenurse
    If the employers don't want to pay premiums, fine. They should just admit the market doesn't work and turn the job over to the government by expanding Medicare. That's how it's done in the rest of the industrialized world, where there's far more efficiency.
    Making government take over all of healthcare will lead to extreme inefficiency. Oh and by the way, according to your transnational liberalism viewpoint(every country > united states) they should all have > GDP's because according to you, they have such incredible efficiency right? I mean much greater efficiency than the united states right? Well why isnt this the reality? Explain please --

    Quote from spacenurse
    That's not reform. It's a bailout for insurers and drug companies that refuse to be accountable for the high prices they charge and the paltry health care they provide.
    What about lawyers(the briefcase mafia) shaking down doctors everyday, forcing them to practice defensive medicine? does that raise healthcare costs at all ya think? Someone has tunnel vision on this issue me do health insurers provide "paltry healthcare" last time I checked they don't actually perform healthcare services, they only pay for them. Drug companies similiarly, provide medications - and many drug companies have programs to make drugs affordable to people that need them, especially terminal patients so please get off the conspiracy soap box.

    I am all for universal healthcare if spacenurse pays for it.
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    Insurance Blob Wastes One-Third of Care Dollars

    Deborah Burger, R.N.

    Your May 14 editorial "Illinois Tax Implosion" was right about one thing: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's backward health-care reform plan deserved to be voted down. But his plan was hardly "Canadian health care," as you label it. -
    Instead it was much more of the same: Using public dollars to subsidize private, for-profit health insurance corporations so they can turn a buck by denying care to our patients.

    The simple fact is we could learn a thing or two about health care from Canada, France, Taiwan and every other developed nation in the world. They all manage to provide better health care at about half the cost. The difference? They don't have a bloated insurance bureaucracy wasting one-third of care dollars and propelling medical inflation. Instead they guarantee care through versions of the "single-payer" model, where patients pick a doctor or hospital who is paid directly from a national, nonprofit fund. Workers are taken care of and employers aren't distracted by the health-care mess.

    The good news is that we have the chance to enact such a system with Rep. John Conyers's (D., Mich.) bill, which already has 69 co-sponsors and the support of hundreds of labor, religious and community organizations. Americans are eager for solutions to the health-care tragedy; it's time for Washington to get the message.