Majority of Americans Want Universal Healthcare
UPDATE: CNN just released a brand new poll: 72% of the American public want the federal government to take a large role in providing healthcare coverage for all. I hope Congress is listening!
The following chart is from The Drum Major Institute and represents a poll conducted 08 August ’08. I have seen similar polls from the New York Times and Public Policy Poling since the election.
Now, these numbers can change. Similar numbers in favor of universal healthcare were around when Bill Clinton was elected president, but after the lobbyists for private insurance and Big Pharma ran their distorting “Harry and Louise” commercials, public support disappeared. The commercials so misled older Americans that one retiree pleaded with then-Sen. Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS), “Please, Sen. Dole, don’t let the government run my Medicare!” Who did she think was ALREADY running Medicare???
The lobbyists will likewise attempt to derail current efforts at universal healthcare, too, even though it would help get us out of the recession. (The recession is global, but in no other industrial nation are people losing their healthcare, at a rate 0f 1,400 per month, along with their jobs. That’s placing additional strains on state Medicaid programs and on hospital emergency rooms used for primary care–which is adding to state budget crises.) I mentioned back in December that if General Moters had been a CANADIAN company rather than a U. S. one, it would not have needed any government bailout money–even with all the bad management decisions over decades. Why? Because national healthcare in Canada would have saved GM’s biggest labor cost and given it an extra $22 billion per year.
Healthcare through jobs or individual insurance plans means that U.S. manufacturers are not competing on even ground with European, Chinese, Japanese, Canadian, etc. manufacturers. It adds thousands of dollars to every American automobile, for instance. It hurts small businesses (and leads many of our most creative entrepeneurs to forego starting their own small businesses) and to the death of family farms.
Think how much faster we can recover from this economic disaster if companies don’t need to factor in healthcare into their labor decisions? National health insurance also saves hospitals in billing costs–which is why after start up costs, a single payer system is less expensive in the long run.
If you are a U.S. citizen, contact your member of Congress and Senators and urge them to pass universal healthcare THIS year. Write letters to your local papers, too. Make some noise: the lobbyists for Big Pharma and the HMOs sure will.
UPDATE: Originally, no supporters of single-payer plans were invited to the White House tomorrow for Obama’s Health Care Reform Summit. Thanks to thousands of petitions, phone calls, emails, etc. by citizen activists, that has changed. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), a longtime proponent of single payer universal healthcare and author of the current House bill that promotes such, will be there. This is how it’s done.
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