Why socialisim when it comes to healthcare isn’t such a dirty word

Living in Germany has given me a new-found perspective on the whole socialism angle. Like most Americans I was brought up to believe that it was evil and would lead to the downfall of any economy leaning on socialism’s tenuous tinderbox base. But a few years in a country which is not only living well under a modified form of socialism, but also thriving has opened my eyes.

Right now America is in the throes of trying to fix its fractured health care system. One thing for certain, no matter what is done, it is going to be painful for some. It is going to be painful for the taxpayers (at least at first). It is going to be painful for the elected officials who must decide what is right. And it is going to hurt doctors in the pocketbook. But trust me on this. It is NOT going to be painful for the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. No, they are now pumping so much lobbying money into our Congressmen’s pockets in order to maintain their own interests, that sincerely I doubt if anything changes at all unless it is advantageous for the insurance and pharma industries.

I would like to take just a moment to point out a blogger friend’s series on Universal Health care in Germany and the differences between here and America. I know that it will involve reading, but I suspect that it is information which every American should know while trying to make an informed decision.

Here is just an excerpt:

How do health statistics compare between Germany and the US?

Looking at the World Health Organization’s Core Health Indicators, Germany has better numbers than the US in most health care related statistics. Here are some highlights:

  • Life expectancy at birth, for both sexes combined, is 80 years in Germany and 78 in the US
  • Healthy life expectancy at birth, for both sexes combined, is 72 years in Germany, 69 years in the US
  • Infant mortality rate (per 1000 births) for Germany is 4.0, the US is 7.0
  • Hospital beds (per 10000 people) is 83 in Germany and 32 in the US
  • Physician density (per 10000 people) is 34 in Germany and 26 in the US
  • Total expenditure on health as percentage of GDP for Germany is 10.7%, the US is 15.2%
  • and Per capita expenditure on health is $3250 in Germany and $6350 in the US

Scary isn’t it?
Please take a moment and visit AmiExpat’s site for more information.

Think about this folks: America has the 37th worst quality of health care in the developed world. And the most costly. Costing over twice as much as every other county. Conservative estimates are that over 120,000 people die each year in America from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don’t die from. Rich, middle class, and poor alike. Insured and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. This is what being 37th in quality of health care means.

Personally I have two brothers who are as of right now uninsured. One is “underemployed” one is self-employed, and both are unwilling (read unable) to fork out the extra dough required for personal insurance. It scares me to think about it, but if something serious happened to either one of them, it could mean foreclosure on their houses. I myself rode the no-insurance wheel in America for a long time when I was either in between jobs or was only working part time.

What else should you do to make an informed decision before following the herd…? Read! Here is HR 3200, in its entirety.

I think I will write out my own experiences with German health care, but I’m afraid that will have to wait for a day or two. But if you didn’t visit the links above, please do reconsider.

One thought on “Why socialisim when it comes to healthcare isn’t such a dirty word

  1. I think that Christina G over at amiexpat.com is doing a great job collecting consumer experiences over at her site. I think the discussion in the U.S. going to boil down to the following:Do I use more health care costs than the average tax payer? The knee-jerk conservative answer here is probably "No, of course not. And I don't see why I should be paying for anyone else's health care coverage, even if I did! We should all individually pay for what we individually use, not pay collectively for what some of us use way more than others."That approach works for some aspects of consumerism — power utilities and food and gasoline come to mind. I try to pay for what I use and not buy more stuff than I need or subsidize others' wasteful behaviors. I understand the concern some may feel at paying for more than they expect to use.But those who would try to apply that concept to health insurance are missing the point that insurance is for precisely those cases where you're not sure how much you need. You can claim you take good care of yourself, but you really can't predict and prepare for a genetic disorder or car accident.Perhaps the knee-jerk liberal flip-side of the question-and-answer above is: How much should the financial benefit of the company insuring me factor into my treatment options? The default liberal response here might be "Of course treatment of my illness cannot be influenced by any corporate productivity agenda!" And I can relate to that viewpoint as well: why on earth would I choose to pay money to a company whose intent is to profit by saving money in my time(s) of need (for which I pay premiums, I might add)?There will have to be a compromise, and I am hopeful that our nation will manage to hammer out a deal with itself once again. Hammering is loud (and if misdirected, quite painful), but it is productive and good for security and stability in the long run.

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