Healthcare for the Middle Class

– There’s been a lot of talk over the years about health care reform.  Hillary Clinton tried to implement deep health care reform and was rebuffed soundly.   Now, Obama’s said he’s going to try it.

– So, what’s going to happen?   No much is what, very likely.   Kevin Drum of Mother Jones wrote an article (the beginning of which is below) which discusses the whys and wherefores of what’s likely to happen.

– Folks like me have decried for years the fact that of all the major western democracies, the U.S. is the ONLY one without socialized medicine.  The richest country in the world and 48 million of our 300 million people do not have a health care safety net.

– Well, the corporate interests which basically own the U.S.’s health care system will resist changes tooth and nail – because profits are involved.   You can be sure that the idea that governments should exist to look after the interests of their people won’t get on the table.

– And, have you heard how very bad socialized medicine is?   No service, bad work, long lines?   Well, I’ve spent a lot of time in a country with such a system and, yes, it has some problems – but nothing like what all this disinformation and propaganda would have you believe.

– Here in the U.S., my wife and I pay $885 a month for health care insurance and each of us has a $2500 deductible on top of that.Â

– In New Zealand, which has a socialized medical system, all accidents are covered automatically by the government.  And, if it is not an accident, a doctor’s visit costs you $55 NZD maximum (about $27 US at the moment),  And no prescription costs you more than $15 NZD (or about $7-$8 US at the moment). Â

– Now, that’s what I call a government looking out for the interests of its people.

– This article makes it sound like the push-back will be coming from the 250 million of us who have health care coverage.    I don’t think so.   The 250 million will, however, be the targets for the fear-mongering campaign (by the profit oriented medical/corporate interests which have deep vested interests in the outcome) that will ensue.  That will be the real story here.  Just wait and see the ‘public spirited’ advertisements which will be out soon from the medical industry / corporate types as they compassionately share with us what’s wrong with health care reform.

– Read Kevin’s story and you’ll see why health care for everyone as a right won’t be coming here to the U.S. anytime soon.

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David Corn just got back from a breakfast meeting hosted by Nancy Pelosi, who outlined the Democratic messaging strategy on healthcare reform:

The “appeal” of this push, she said, will not be that 48 million people don’t have health care insurance. “What is important to the bigger population,” she explained, “is their own health care.”

….The bottom line: the battle cry will not be, “Health care for all!” Instead, it will be “Better health care for you — and also the rest of us.” Given how the Hillary Clinton-led crusade for health care reform flamed out terribly in the 1990s, this sort of tactical shift may be warranted. It may even be wise.

I’d go further than that.  Even as far back as 1993, Bill Clinton understood that fear of change among the already insured was the key issue in building public support for national healthcare.  Unfortunately, even though he got this, he still didn’t emphasize it enough, and that’s one of the reasons his plan failed.

Since then, however, this has become conventional wisdom.  Like it or not, universal healthcare will never get passed on the grounds that it will help the 48 million Americans who are currently uninsured.  It will only pass if the other 250 million Americans are assured over and over and over again that the new plan will be at least as good for them as what they have now.


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