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02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]
02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]
02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]
02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
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US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]
02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
International & Futurism
02.21 John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video) [21:26 video; we’re approaching an Idiocracy-type of society, where stupidity is “normal”]
02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]
02.18 Hate-Fest in Warsaw
America's Stupid Health Care Debate: Keeping Some Ideas Off the Table
Friday, 27 February 2009
The truth is that every other modern country in the world has long ago figured out that you can't have cost-effective, universal health care unless the government is the paymaster, with prices set by the government.When President Barack Obama made his quick dash up to Ottawa last week, it's too bad he didn't suffer a gastrointestinal attack, or slip on some ice and twist an ankle or something. If he had, he might have had a chance to do what he should have done anyhow: visit a Canadian health clinic.
Maybe then he would have had his eyes opened to a better idea: government-run health care.
It is a sad commentary on the pinched and strictly censored level of political discourse in this nation that any serious consideration of Canada's successful approach to health care is simply out of bounds in America. It is nothing short of absurd that even though the nation that is closest to the US geographically, culturally, linguistically and economically has, since 1973, had a system of provincially administered single-payer government-run health systems which have kept the country's health costs at about 2/3 of what they are in the US as a percentage of GDP, at the same time serving all people and (not surprisingly) achieving better health statistics than the US, no one in Washington has talked about inviting Canadian health authorities down to explain how their system works and whether it might make sense here.
Canadians have complete freedom to choose their physicians. They pay nothing to go to hospital. I interviewed one hospital administrator in Canada who had worked earlier managing a US hospital. He said a whole wing of the facility in the US was devoted to billing and accounting staff, while he had only two people for that job in Canada, "mostly to handle the bills of the occasional American tourist!" (Some 20% of every US health care dollar goes for paperwork.) Interestingly, when I interviewed the CEOs of a number of huge Canadian subsidiaries of US corporations, they universally told me that they were ardent supporters of the Canadian system, and in fact, were involved in lobbying to have it expanded to include long-term care and psychiatric benefits.
There has for years been a huge ongoing propaganda campaign by US health care companies and their lobbies to denigrate Canada's system, but the big truth that they cannot deny is that it is loved by Canadians. The best evidence of this: Despite years of conservative governments in Canada, and in the various provinces, no political leader has ever tried to re-privatize health care in Canada. Clearly such an effort would be political suicide, so popular is the system there.
Surely, when President Obama assembles his panels to work out some kind of health "reform" package for the out-of-control US health care system, he should include Canadian health experts and ministers into the mix. It makes absolutely no sense to embark on a $650- billion-to-$2-trillion project without considering all the available options--including options that have a proven track record of keeping costs down, services available to all, and that delivers better health outcomes.
The truth is that every other modern country in the world has long ago figured out that you can't have cost-effective, universal health care unless the government is the paymaster, with prices set by the government. The truth too is that no country that has moved to such a single-payer system has later rejected it--a good indication that the people of these countries are satisfied with the results and with what they're getting for what they're paying.
No one would say that about the US health care system, which is failing over 50 million people completely, that is the leading cause of bankruptcy, that is making US companies non-competitive, and that sucks up over 14 percent of GDP while producing life expectancy and infant mortality figures that make some Third World countries look good.
Next time President Obama travels to Canada, Britain, France, Germany or some other country with a single-payer system, we should all wish for him to "break a leg," as they say in the performing arts. He might learn something valuable from the experience.
About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on February 27, 2009.