Monday, October 19, 2009

Health Care Fantasy

If the mainstream media were not dominated by a lust for superficial bipartisanship and dominated by corporate interests, the mainstream Republican position on health care would not be termed "conservative." But it is, clearly extremist, as indicated by the stance of South Dakota Senator Jon Thune, a major threat to be the GOP's next vice-presidential nominee.

Appearing yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Thune- without clarification, detail, or growth of nose to Pinocchio-size proportions- claimed

If you look at some of these other countries around the world -- and frankly, for that matter, a lot of the states that have tried to implement some sort of government-run health insurance plan -- it has been a disaster. And you can look at some examples of that here in our country.

This is the "disaster" that is France, which has a multi-tiered system comprised of both private and public insurance, in which

Patients can pick their own doctors, who can prescribe any treatment or drug without having to ask the health care authorities. That's more freedom for patients and doctors than most private insurance plans allow in this country (and which) closed down maternity wards that handled fewer than 300 births a year.

Moreover, "there are no waiting lists for elective procedures and patients need not seek pre-authorizations" and "It's not uncommon to visit a French medical office and see no nonmedical personnel.... who do daily battle with insurers' arcane and constantly changing rules of payment."

What a nightmare. And all while (2003 figures) spending $2663 less per capita on health care than does the United States. And 10.4% of gross domestic product on health care, while the U.S.A. spends 15.2%. Quite a disaster in France.

Closer to home, Canada also is living through a nightmare, with a single payer system in which the government pays for all core health services, though not for physician salaries. And all while spending $2913 less per capita on health care than does the United States. And 9.9% of gross domestic product on health care. The nation reels.

The United Kingdom, unlike Canada or France, has a socialist health care system. The National Health Service directly employs health care professionals and is the fifth largest employer in the world. All the while spending less than half as much per capita as does the United States. And 7.8% of gross domestic product on health care. A socialistic catastrophe, obviously.

Jon Thune says government-run health care is a disaster. Chris Wallace neglected to ask him how he came to that conclusion. But someone needs to challenge this disinformation so the public can determine whether ignorance or intentional deception is at work.

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