Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Yes, I have been reticent

Perhaps people have expected me to say more about the goings on in Congress lately. I have largely abstained because I don't have time to read 1,200 page draft bills, which means I have to depend on what other people say about them, which is inevitably tendentious, and you can read those folks as well as I can.

Also, my own position could not be more clear. Whatever comes out of this legislative session is barely going to begin to solve our problems, at best. While it's a worthy objective to get more people covered by health insurance, and the general idea of enforcing community rating and everybody into the pool is part of what a decent system will have to include, by itself it's not enough to be good or bad. It all depends on other pieces, which for the most part are not there.

We need a radical reorganization of the way in which health care is delivered, and radical changes in financing are required to make that happen. Nobody is even willing to touch that right now, because the power of vested interests -- drug and device manufacturers, medical specialists, insurance companies, big institutional providers -- especially the for-profit hospitals and nursing homes but non-profit academic medical centers as well -- are not going to allow it. They own enough politicians and they are ruthless enough to promulgate sufficiently outrageous lies that we can't even have the discussion we need to be having.

I'm off to Connecticut now, so I'll just leave it at that and say more about it later. But the bottom line is, we have to stop health care from eating the economy. We need to take commerce and greed out of it, and create a new, cost-effective, just and humane, and oh yeah, much cheaper and humbler way of doing this.

And oh yeah. We need universal, comprehensive, single payer national health care. Nothing less.

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