Thursday, October 19, 2006

Universal Healthcare in the News

Noted an editorial on the USA Today opinion pages talking about universal healthcare.

The ideas, as well as the comments on the bottom of the page are interesting.

What I fail to see is why the right wing in the USA opposes universal healthcare, a la Canada, or perhaps the UK system. These countries spend less on healthcare per capita for a number of reasons. Sure, they pay doctors and nurses less, but the main reason is that they do, in fact, start treatment of manageable and preventable diseases earlier. Further, certain stress afflictions just do not exist - the USA is the only G8 nation where workers worry about losing their home and life savings because of illness, and that's with medical insurance.

So what does universal, equal access health care really equate to?

A business subsidy.

Unlike other subsidies, one cannot lobby the WTO to declare it as such, and impose counterveiling duties on imports from countries that have these systems. The countries judged against, as well as the left wing here, would revolt.

U.S. companies pay 0-50% of their workers' insurance premiums if they provide insurance. This is not so in the UK and Canada (but common in Germany). This is a burden on U.S. business, a "reverse subsidy" if you will.

So there is little choice - either the USA continues to impose this undue burden on its business and labor pool, or implements a universal healthcare system. Emergency medical care is not enough.

If you're really pro-business, you'll agree that a universal healthcare scheme is in the best interests of most of the businesses. The ones that will get hurt are profitable insurance providers (who have other business units to depend on) and hospital corporations. But to benefit the many? It's worth that price.


Blogger moot.xk said...

I'm sort of on the fence in regards to universal healthcare, but I agree with your argument.

11:41 AM  
Blogger kgayda said...

You are absolutely correct on this. The reason that it has not happened thus far is that we have given so much corporate welfare to insurance/big pharma over the years that they can afford to outspend other businesses on lobbying to protect their interests.

11:10 AM  

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