Mick wrote:Wouldn't it have benefited more if Obama had tried to create a cheap alternative such as scrapping IP laws for common drugs like insulin and then producing them dirt cheap (as an example) slowly building up government hospitals rather than throwing trillions at the private health care institutions and feeding the already very wealthy pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies?
We have always had free health care in the UK, but they are not 5 star accommodations, I think they do very well, they think all the time how to keep costs down, we also have private health care, for those who want it, I suppose the food is better, might not have to share a room and so on. But you couldn't get everyone in the UK to go private, it just would cost too much.
But thats seems to be what the American health care reform is, the US has never had anything except private, if everyone is to get health care, they need to all use the private health care hospitals and they don't come cheap. Seems to me if the goal is universal health care that doesn't bankrupt the nation (companies and individuals too on insurance perhaps) , you need to drastically change the system.
Free public clinics and charity hospitals already dot the landscape, but they are generally overwhelmed and underfunded, with a proportional capacity far lower than Britain's NHS. The purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to broaden coverage and lower costs without gutting the existing health care infrastructure, which is in fact a mix of public and private contigencies. The Netherlands and Switzerland took similar paths in 1948-1949, as they too had robust private systems but wanted to provide univeral health care. The Massachusetts health care system, known as MassCare and ironically signed into law by Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney (who now rabidly opposes univeral health care), was loosely based on the Dutch and Swiss systems. It's worth noting that those countries have successfully managed their health care systems, which remain largely private and include individual mandates to purchase health insurance, for the past 60 years. Massachusetts has faired well since it passed MassCare in 2006.
Despite the rhetoric one hears from Republicans, most Americans don't enjoy 5 star accomodations either. The quality of health care in the US is generally comparable to other Western nations, but with a far higher price tag, both overall and more importantly, per capita. The reason for this is two-fold: 1. Millions of healthy Americans choose not to purchase health insurance, resulting in higher premiums for those that do, and 2. Millions of unhealthy Americans can't afford regular health care, and are only treated when their conditions become emergencies. 60% of bankruptcies in the US are primarily caused by unexpected medical costs. But even with people pouring out all their savings, uninsured people still incur some US$40 billion in medical bills they cannot pay, resulting in hospitals eating these costs. They pass off as much of these costs to the insured and the federal government they possibly can. Our health care system is, in a word, inefficient.
The ACA would have mitigated these problems to a great extent, simply by compelling all citizens and legal residents to purchase health insurance. The flip side of the coin would be that health insurance companies must guarantee issue, and the federal government would subsidize the poor so they too can be covered. The net result would be more coverage and lower costs, at least in theory. The experience of the Netherlands and Switzerland leads to me believe that theory would be reality.
But none of that matters if the five Republican justices on the Supreme Court toss out the law, as even supporters now believe they will. The five Republican justices asked very pointed, leading questions which strongly indicate they will strike down the law. Note that while the individual mandate and guaranteed issue provisions were not scheduled to be implemented until 2014 for adults, the law immediately lifted lifetime caps, required guaranteed issue for children, and created subsidized high risk insurance for adults. Estimates vary, but somewhere between 40,000-100,000 people currently rely on the ACA for coverage. The nearly inevitable Republican victory in court may lead, quite literally, to thousands of children and adults dying from lack of regular medical care.