Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Health Care in the United States of America

America's health care system is riddled with inefficiencies, excessive administrative expenses, inflated prices, poor management, medical mistakes, and inappropriate care, waste and fraud.

Middle class Americans can't keep up with rising health insurance costs and even those with insurance dread the prospect of some serious/prolonged medical event that ends up bankrupting them. People without health insurance flood hospital emergency rooms where hospitals are only reimbursed for the cost of care by charging their insured patients more.

The cost of employee health care plans hurts the competitiveness of America's business and industry, and drives jobs overseas.

The US spends more on health care by far than any other industrialized nation, and yet health outcomes for Americans are no better and in many case far worse that nations with universal coverage for their citizens. Health care spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France. It was 17% of GDP in the United States and it continues to grow.

You'd think that our leaders in Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, would be working hard to correct this situation. Not the Republicans, who are playing to the fears of their fringe constituencies. Thus, the misleading and even patently false claims about the Obama health care reform plan:

Under the Obama plan, our "grandmothers will be encouraged to commit suicide." Give me a break! The bill includes a provision to cover minimal counseling on directives to physicians for end of life care and other helpful planning provisions to ensure people get the information they need to make sound decisions about their care.

"The Democrats want the government to pay for abortions." Absolutely false. Where do these people get these crap? None of the health care overhaul measures that have made it through the committee level in Congress say that abortion will be covered, and one of them explicitly says that no public funds will be used to finance the procedure.

The Obama plan will "lead to rationing of health care." No reasonable analysis leads to that conclusion, but rational isn't what these claims are about.

Republicans are working hard to defeat health care reform, any health care reform, because, and Republican leadership has said this, they want to make health care reform President Obama's "Waterloo." That's right; they're more concerned about getting back at Obama than getting Americans decent health care. Shame on them!

Be sure to fact check anything you hear from the GOP (The Party of 'No') by going to Factcheck.org.

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