Levellers

Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Health Care for America Would Cover Everyone and Save Billions

The Economic Policy Institute has released a new report showing that the “Health Care for America” plan developed by Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker would cover everyone, allow for doctor choices, and save about $1 trillion dollars over a decade, while costing the U.S. government only about $50 billion more than we are paying now for a system that leaves millions uninsured and far more underinsured.  Since both the Clinton and Obama healthcare plans (and, before he dropped out, John Edwards’ plan) are based on Hacker’s “Healthcare for America” proposal, this is good news for Democrats and for American hopes for real healthcare reform.  It is likely that the Democratic Congress would propose legislation based on the Hacker proposal and, if Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate are backed by a Democratic President, it is likely that such legislation would pass and we would finally get universal healthcare in this country. 

Universal healthcare was first proposed in 1911 by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt (R), after he finished taking on the monopolies. (Remember when there were liberal Republicans?) Had TR succeeded in getting such a system passed then, the U.S. would have been the first, rather than the last, industrial nation to have universal healthcare.  It was next proposed by TR’s second cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D), during the New Deal–but the GOP rallied enough votes to block it. And, as companies were recovering from the Depression and hiring new workers, they started offering healthcare benefits in place of higher wages because they were still strapped for capital.  Canada and most of Europe created universal healthcare systems in the wake of World War II (in Canada’s case, the cause was led by Tommy Douglas, Baptist minister turned politician–who has since been voted by the Canadian public as the “greatest Canadian.”).

We can do it here. Quality healthcare is a human right.

February 19, 2008 - Posted by | healthcare

5 Comments

  1. I note that a Democratic Congress with a Democratic President failed to overhaul health care in the 90s (see “Hillarycare“).

    Comment by Robert Fischer | February 19, 2008

  2. Having lived in Britain for extended periods under their system and even had my oldest child born in a British hospital I am constantly shocked how barbaric our health care is over here by comparison.

    Comment by Aric Clark | February 19, 2008

  3. Robert, you are right. The Clinton plan for the ’90s was pretty good, but because they held the hearings in secret and did not prepare for a rightwing assault by the GOP and the HMOs and Big Pharma, they allowed the plan to be sunk by a lying big money ad machine. One of the reasons Obama keeps harping on building a “new working majority” is that big changes only happen after big elections. We got Social Security in ’33 after the landslide election of ’32. We got Medicare and Medicaid in ’65 after the landslide election of ’64. It will take a landslide election with a clear mandate to deliver universal healthcare. I believe Obama can win that kind of landslide election–although it remains to be seen if he will.

    By contrast, Bill Clinton won only a plurality (not a majority) of the popular vote in ’92 thanks to Ross Perot. And the Dem. majority in the House was slim and the GOP controlled the Senate. So, even though universal healthcare was the #1 issue for voters in ’92, Clinton arrived without the mandate and political will to achieve it.

    Now, the system is more broken than ever. But it will take a landslide election to get it.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 20, 2008

  4. Even Glenn Beck expects a landslide victory for Obama. He cites the rally turn outs for Obama (at over 19,000 per event) versus McCain’s turnouts (at about 200 per event). Even in “red states” Obama receives more votes than all Republican candidates put together, and Hillary is nipping at his heels.

    Comment by Steven Kippel | March 11, 2008

  5. Universal Health Care DOES NOT WORK! At least when practiced by the government!

    In England they have universal health care, and there they have HUGE cost over runs! They are telling women to have their children at home, which I am all for, but their reasons behind it is that they are costing the system too much! In fact, they have a law stating that a person is not to wait in ER for more than four hours before being treated. What is the outcome? People are being left in ambulances for as much as an hour and a half, BEFORE being admitted!

    Canada has government provided health care, and what do Canadians do? They come down here if they can afford it!

    Government provided health care DOES NOT work! The only job of the government is to protect the citizen from harm from foreign powers! It had been religion and religious organizations that for the longest time provided health care to the needy! That’s why there are so many hospitals named after “saints”! The fact is government health care and insurance companies drive up cost, free market systems lower cost!

    One perfect example of this is Lasic surgery. Private health care insurance providers wouldn’t pay for it when it came out, hence doctors and companies improved the technique and materials so that it could offered at a lower cost! New drugs and technologies are always pricey when they first come out so that companies can recoup their research costs, but once the technology has been on the market for awhile, the cost goes down so that more users can buy it!

    Another big cost to health care are malpractice claims, that require doctors and health care providers to get huge insurance plans to cover them in case they get sued!

    The answer is not more government involvement but less! How is it righteous to steal money from someone else to give it to another? This money does not come out of thin air, who is going to pay for it? Are you going to stick it to the “rich”? Who provides jobs to people in this country? The poor don’t. In many of these industrialized nations they pay as much as 50% of their incomes in taxes, maybe more!

    What’s the moral cost to humanity, to make the government do it, instead of private citizens? What if the government refuses to pay for a plan, then what? Scriptures say we are individually responsible for ourselves, not the government! There are Christian plans out there where Christians will collectively pay the bills of other members become ill or have doctor’s expenses. This is a volunteer way of handling the problem, making individuals responsible for the health and well being of fellow believers!

    In the days of ancient Israel they fed the poor by leaving some of their fields unharvested. The poor still had to work for their food, by harvesting it themselves. There was not some “government program” to feed them though! The U.S. government spends more in social programs, by several times, than it does on the military! Maybe only a fourth or a fifth of the revenue in taxes goes to the nation’s defense! There is more than twice the money going into Health and Human Services and Social Security than there is going to the military!

    Here you don’t have to wait months to have a hip replacement surgery. Here you don’t have to wait months before you can see a doctor about getting your cancer treated! I thank God we are not a socialized medicine country!

    Comment by Dave | April 17, 2008


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