“Keep your government hands off my health care!” Remember that? I had to bring it back. If I recall correctly, one senior citizen says those words at a town meeting and immediately everybody and their mother is scoffing at the irony of the statement because the man must be really naive & unaware to not know that his medicare is provided by tax dollars. Yet, in the midst of all the discourse copycats, at least one journalist (either Bill Boyarsky or Joe Conason; the exact quote I can’t seem to find) suggested that maybe the old man was just trying to say that he didn’t want the government to cut his medicare or raise his premium. After all, it’s the cost of American health care that prompted the debate and mandated reform.
Not so fast says MSNBC’s Maggie Fox, who cited findings from a team of researchers at Coumbia University in New York, which suggested, “Americans die sooner than citizens of a dozen other developed nations and the usual suspects — obesity, traffic accidents and a high murder rate — are not to blame.” No, the real culprit happens to be the quality of care that covered Americans are receiving.
Provided that the findings are considered accurate, they really say a lot about the recently “reformed” health care system in America. The presidential election of Barack Obama brought the discussion of the private health care system to a front burner, with a focus on pushing HMO’s to cover more people, ban discrimination against preexisting conditions, and lower the costs of health care. Turns out there’s more than just getting coverage & paying premiums that Americans should be worried about, seeing as how the physical costs of our incompetent system are now in question.
“”The U.S. doesn’t stand out as doing any worse in these areas [smoking, obesity, traffic accidents, and homicides] than any of the other countries we studied, leading us to believe that failings in the U.S. health care system, such as costly specialized and fragmented care, are likely playing a large role in this relatively poor performance on improvements in life expectancy.”
How many times have I heard Sean Hannity vehemently applaud & defend the private health care system with the assertion, “I think we have the greatest health care system in the world?” Trying to recount his rhetoric makes me want to see a doctor right now.
To the credit of President Obama, he did discuss the issue of fragmented care, certainly one of the weak links in the chain. But he also campaigned on a public option–a viable form of competition for the deafest of HMO’s–only to claim he hadn’t after failing to stand behind it aggressively when the provision really needed his authoritative support (better yet, executive juice), and its possibility was watered down so much that if implemented, only 5-10 million could be covered.
If you’re skeptical of the aforementioned findings and are convinced that America’s overall poor health and decreasing life expectancy has something more to do with something obvious like obesity, please, think again and read the following:
“For obesity to explain the decline in U.S. life expectancy or the increase in health spending relative to the 12 comparison countries, Americans would have to be becoming obese at a faster rate than people in the comparison nations over time,” they wrote. But this has not been happening.”
Aside from extended coverage for young adults now able to stick with their parents’ coverage until the age of 26, and the establishment of non-profit health insurance co-ops, it sounds to me like the American government has much more to reform in regards to America’s health care system, mind you, Congress seems to have taken care of itself already. As for reform that truly improves the health and well being of your average American citizen? Well, that just “has not been happening.”