You will have to call a bureaucrat


 In the July 30th article, “House Health Care Bill Criticized as Panel Votes for Public Plan,” the New York Times reports that the Democrats have defeated a Republican effort to remove the portion of the bill which establishes public health insurance.  Some conservatives are alarmed at the creation of this public program because it suggests that the United States is steadily sliding toward the nationalization of health care, believed to be ineffective.  Fears that a nationalized health care system will be ineffective lead Republican Representative Rogers to bemoan that “you will have to call a bureaucrat and hope to God his calculator is more compassionate and smarter than your doctor.”

This short-sighted remark ignores the fact that Americans already face a bureaucracy uninterested in their personal health: namely, insurance companies following their calculated plans to maximize profit and market share.  Already doctors and patients have to go to bureaucrats and their not-so-compassionate calculators!

 Is it true that a public health program run by the Federal Government is doomed to be inefficient?  One can compare the privatized U.S. healthcare system to the nationalized healthcare available in the rest of the industrialized world, including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, and the U.K, using the data and statistics provided by the World Health Organization on their website.

The total expenditure on health (private and public) per capita in the U.S. is 1.8 – 2.5 higher than these countries, yet it does not enjoy better standards of health.  The U.S. suffers the highest mortality rates for infants, children under five, and adults between 15 and 60 years.  Also, Americans lose more years of life to communicable diseases.

Given the inefficiency of the privatized healthcare system in the U.S., we should consider revamping the system and modeling a new one off of a tried-and-true one, such as Finland.

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