A rare chance to fix our health care system
Most agree that we need to change our present health care system. Many are rightly concerned about the cost of implementing the new health care legislation. But look at the costs we are already experiencing. Health insurance premiums spiraling higher every year. Pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, doctor and hospital care costs continue to experience above average inflation every year.
The United States pays almost double the amount most industrialized nations pay for the same health care.
Not only do we pay extra out of the pocketbook, we pay with a higher rate of unnecessary illness and deaths. It is common for us to put off going to the doctor because of the cost of the visit. Some have to sacrifice their own health care for other priorities in their family.
Putting off medical care until you end up in the emergency room not only costs more, but incurs more medical care and possible death because of neglect of care. For example think of neglect of care for someone with cancer.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of Americans without health insurance rose to 46.3 million in 2008. In the last year, so many have lost their jobs and their insurance coverage. Because of this, many analysts think the real number of uninsured may be closer to 50 million. Many uninsured who are middle or poor income have suddenly found themselves in need of health care, because of illness or accident, have gone bankrupt and lost their homes. Surely if we are aware of this, we would have compassion for these people.
The World Health Organization's ranking of nations health systems in the year 2000, revealed the United States ranked 37th.
Not good for the richest nation in the world that spends more than all of the other nations of the world added together, for military might. You might be surprised that besides most European nations and Japan, Chile, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, and Singapore ranked higher than the United States in their health care systems.
We could learn so much from these other countries. T. R. Reid has traveled around the world comparing other countries' health care systems to ours. He has written a recent book, "The Healing of America."
It shows so much we could pick and choose to create a so much better system for ourselves here.
So when do you think our law makers will have a chance to make a change with new health care legislation if the present bill fails? After the Clinton Health Bill failed, the Republicans did very little during the Bush administration; just drug benefits with the "donut hole." So if this bill fails, I don't see the Democrats getting anything done in the near future. And if the Republicans gain more seats in the Senate, I see little chance for change in health care. It could be many years before another opportunity for health care legislation could present itself, with a terrible cost to the less fortunate I have talked about earlier.
So I fully support Sen. Ben Nelson for his vote in favor of the new health care bill. Sure the bill is not perfect, but it is imperative we get started. It took a lot of political courage for Ben to vote in favor with so much partisan opposition from some of our Republicans here in Nebraska.