TYWKIWDBI hasn't previously offered any posts re the delivery of health care and the benefits (or not) of a single-payer system. I won't get into it here, but I couldn't resist blogging two items that appeared yesterday.
The first is a column in Salon that included these trenchant comments:
Documenting the gross "discrepancy" between the enormous amounts that Americans spend on healthcare and the value received for that expenditure, the study found that the United States ranks poorly among OECD countries on measures of life expectancy, infant mortality and reductions in "amenable mortality," meaning deaths "from certain causes that should not occur in the presence of timely and effective healthcare."
But perhaps any discussion of healthcare in the developed world ought to begin with a plain fact noted early in this study: Among the OECD's 30 members -- which include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom -- there are only three lacking universal health coverage. The other two happen to be Mexico and Turkey, which have the excuse of being poorer than the rest (and until the onset of the world economic crisis, Mexico was on the way to providing healthcare to all of its citizens). The third, of course, is us...
So we pay a lot more in taxes devoted to medical care -- not including insurance premiums, co-payments, fees, and other health costs -– than taxpayers in those 27 countries that have universal coverage. Our public expenditure provides coverage only for the elderly and some of the poor (through Medicaid and the SCHIP program for children) while other countries provide universal coverage while spending less.
See the article for more details and discussion.
Pair that article with Bill Maher's comments in the video above, in which he addresses the fear some people have of a health care system "run like the postal service." He speaks with humor, but it is humor delivered with a rapier-like thrust.