About publicly funded health care

– Did you know that the United States is the only country in the developed world without a tax supported public healthcare system? That’s an amazing thing but it is only the tip of the iceberg. Most people think that private healthcare delivers better service than public healthcare – but they are wrong. Decades of statistics show that private healthcare leads to poorer public health.

– The Fall 2006 issue of Yes Magazine is dedicated to health issues and it is all well worth reading but the story I’ve linked to, below, is the one that will most likely to make you sit up with amazment.

Has Canada Got the Cure?
by Holly Dressel

Publicly funded health care has its problems, as any Canadian or Briton knows. But like democracy, it’s the best answer we’ve come up with so far.

Should the United States implement a more inclusive, publicly funded health care system? That’s a big debate throughout the country. But even as it rages, most Americans are unaware that the United States is the only country in the developed world that doesn’t already have a fundamentally public–that is, tax-supported–health care system.

That means that the United States has been the unwitting control subject in a 30-year, worldwide experiment comparing the merits of private versus public health care funding. For the people living in the United States, the results of this experiment with privately funded health care have been grim. The United States now has the most expensive health care system on earth and, despite remarkable technology, the general health of the U.S. population is lower than in most industrialized countries. Worse, Americans’ mortality rates–both general and infant–are shockingly high.

Different paths

Beginning in the 1930s, both the Americans and the Canadians tried to alleviate health care gaps by increasing use of employment-based insurance plans. Both countries encouraged nonprofit private insurance plans like Blue Cross, as well as for-profit insurance plans. The difference between the United States and Canada is that Americans are still doing this, ignoring decades of international statistics that show that this type of funding inevitably leads to poorer public health.


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