Pax Christi member Jim Bailey’s letter to the editor was published in the Review-Times on Nov. 14. His analysis of the healthcare issue is outstanding. Keep this letter for reference as the new administration attempts to “reform” the system. Thanks, Jim!
November 10, 2016
To the Editor,
The Affordable Care Act (aka,”Obamacare”) received much undeserved negative attention in the recent presidential campaign. While “Obamacare” is imperfect, it is a significant improvement on what America had before. This is true because of the millions of people who have gained health care coverage and because there are less excuses for insurance companies to deny coverage. For example a pre-existing condition can no longer be used as a reason to deny coverage.
Despite these improvements there are still significant life threatening deficiencies in our health care system.
Every other rich country has made the moral decision to guarantee health care to every person. We ,in effect, have made the immoral decision not to guarantee health care to every person.
Beside guaranteeing universal coverage the other factor that distinguishes the health care systems of all other rich countries from that of America is that their health insurance is not for profit. America stands alone among developed countries by financing health care primarily through profit seeking health insurance companies. Other rich countries do not spend their health care insurance dollars on advertising, profits for stock holders or paying people to deny coverage. Instead, their health insurance focuses on providing health care to all their people.
In America we get less health care for more money. The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. system 37th in general effectiveness. Some outcomes measured are life expectancy, infant mortality, survivability from potentially fatal diseases and affordability. Canada (the government is the insurer, providers are mostly private, it is like our Medicare system) ranks 30th. The United Kingdom (socialism, government owns and controls, like our Veteran’s system) ranks 18th. France (insurance is non-profit, providers are private entities, government regulated) is number #1. Japan’s system (#10) is similar to that of France.
Our health care system is by far the most expensive in the world. Our cost per capita is about $8,200. The average for most other developed countries is only about $3,300! In terms of percentage of GDP, the U.S. spends 17.1% for health care. France is second at 11.6%.
The facts are clear.
America should have the wisdom to learn from the experience of other countries. President Eisenhower borrowed our highway system from Germany. Why not have the good sense to borrow from the health care systems of countries such as France and Japan? Their systems are not socialistic. Health care providers are mostly private but the privately owned insurance pools are not for profit. Compared to the U.S., they provide more for less.
“Obamacare” took some important steps in the right direction but most of us still get “less for more” and some get no health care at all. Americans continue to die because they can’t afford health care. This situation is morally wrong. We could and should do better.
Now, as “Obamacare” is being reconsidered, is the time to for our country to take a momentous step forward by guaranteeing health care to every American!!!
199 Rock Street, Fostoria