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U.S. health care isn't best, just most expensive


Americans don't want to change their health care system because it's the best in the world, according to the bullies who shout down anyone who wants to talk to their congressman about health care.

Our health care system is not the best in the world, only the most expensive. Check the statistics. In 2008 health care spending in the U.S. was $2.4 trillion and is projected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2012. Yet we are far from the top (not even in the top 25) countries in terms of overall life expectancy or in preventing infant mortality.

So what do they mean by "best?" Most profitable, perhaps?

Insurance companies have spent millions of dollars on ads against the "public option." Why do you think this is? Do you imagine that they care about your individual health?

Insurance companies are making record profits, while the average employee contribution to his premium has increased 120 percent since 1999.

Fifty percent of all bankruptcies are at least in part the result of medical expenses that regular Americans, many of who thought they were well insured, can't pay. But overhead for insurance companies is about 20 percent while Medicare's overhead is 3 percent.

Republicans have their clever, fear-inducing talking points that they repeat over and over. A favorite is: "You don't want government between you and your doctor."

Well right now the insurance company, which wants to maximize profits for itself, is between you and your doctor. Have you heard anyone on Medicare complain about the government being between them and their doctor? Not likely.

Everything they don't like is labeled "socialized medicine." But I guess they don't know that socialized medicine is where the government (England for example) owns the clinics and hospitals. None of the public options would have the government as the provider of service.

Check your facts before you oppose a public option. You may need it one day, even if you think you don't today.

Diane Millner