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Public Health Care

Public Health Care

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Published by DaveRandle

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Published by: DaveRandle on Mar 26, 2010
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06/29/2010

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Government Run Healthcare: is it something to run to or run away from.
In recent months there has been many fears expressed about agovernment take over of our health care system.This often repeated fear seems to not understand that the U.S.government has not already taken over much of the U.S. health caresystem. The fear also implies that a government take over wouldbebad for our healthcare quality, and would be bad for our economy.The conclusion from this group is that we need to run away from government healthcare.The rest of the world does not see it that way. In fact the U.S. is the only developedcountry in the world that does not have a national health care program that provideshealth care for all its citizens.The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948,proclaimed that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the healthand well-being of oneself and one
ʼ
s family, including food, clothing, housing, andmedical care.”The United States though instrumental in passing this declaration does not live up to thehuman rights declaration in this regard. Martin Luther King Jr. said it this way: “Of allthe forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”Despite the fact that millions of Americans have no health care coverage, the U.S. isthird in per capita spending for public health care with only Iceland and Germanyspending more per capita.In fact The U.S. system is so lacking that others are wondering not why people want torun away from public health care but rather why they don
ʼ
t want to run to it like the restof the world has already done.See public per capita health care spending by country:
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_hea_car_fun_pub_per_cap-care-funding-public-per-capita
 
Existing Government Health Care Programs
While some call health care reform a government take over, the truth is that without theexisting government health care programs the broken U.S. health care system would bein much worse shape and millions more would lack health care.The VA Medical Center alone is the second largest employer in the Federal governmentwith only the Defense Department employing more people. Imagine if Veterans did nothave this health care program.Add to this the health care costs related to Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, SocialSecurity disability payments, the Children
ʼ
s Health Insurance Program (CHIPS), healthinsurance for federal employees, and members of Congress and you get an idea of theextent that the federal government has already taken over much of the health care inthe nation. Add to this the health care provided by state and local governments and thegovernment control of health care is even stronger.The U.S. spends more per capita on the public portion of its health care than Francespends on its entire health care program. France covers all of its citizens and is rankedthe number #1 health care system in the world by the World Health Organization. TheU.S. by contrast is ranked only #37.See:http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.htmlLet that fact sink in for a minute. The cost of just the government portion of health carein the U.S. before the recently passed health care reform legislation, exceeds the percapita cost of France which covers every citizen and is rated #1 health care system inthe world.Government health care is not new in the U.S., it is a primary component of the totalU.S. health care system with about 46% of health care expenditures paid by thegovernment. Imagine what would happen if we were to run away from this 46% healthcare expenditure to “gain more freedom”.
Quality of Government Health Care Programs
With the notable exception of the VA Medical Centers, the government does not actuallyrun health care programs but rather primarily reimburses people in the private sector atthe rates the private sector can demand.In other words people using medicare, medicaid, CHIPS, etc. are using the sameprivate health care system as anyone else in the private sector. They are just paying forit with government funds rather than private insurance.
 
The VA Medical System that does provide government health care, delivers its healthcare programs primarily to U.S. Veterans though a few other groups also qualify for itsprograms.This is somewhat of an irony because on the one hand there are people who arescreaming that if the government runs their health care they will be losing their freedomand on the other hand this same group seems to have no problem that the veteranswho fought for their freedom are using government run health care.Many Veterans though are not running away from their government health careopportunity at all. In fact they gratefully run to it with its high quality of care.While there was a time when the VA Medical system was considered inferior by many,there has been a dramatic change in the last decade of the VA Medial Center quality ofcare.Much of this is detailed in an article by Phillip Longman titled “Best Care Anywhere”where he reports the following re: the VA Medical system.The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that compared veteranshealth facilities on 11 measures of quality with fee-for-service Medicare. On all 11measures, the quality of care in veterans facilities proved to be "significantly better.The Annals of Internal Medicine recently published a study that compared veteranshealth facilities with commercial managed-care systems in their treatment of diabetespatients. In seven out of seven measures of quality, the VA provided better care.The National Committee for Quality Assurance today ranks health-care plans on 17different performance measures. These include how well the plans manage high bloodpressure or how precisely they adhere to standard protocols of evidence-basedmedicine such as prescribing beta blockers for patients recovering from a heart attack.Winning NCQA's seal of approval is the gold standard in the health-care industry. Andwho do you suppose this year's winner is: Johns Hopkins? Mayo Clinic?Massachusetts General? Nope. In every single category, the VHA system outperformsthe highest rated non-VHA hospitals.In the latest independent survey, 81 percent of VHA hospital patients expresssatisfaction with the care they receive, compared to 77 percent of Medicare andMedicaid patients.Full article athttp://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2005/0501.longman.html

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