We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, May 4, 2012

US Health Care Still Radically More Expensive Yet Not More Effective

Click here to access article by Jon Walker from FireDogLake.

Few issues in the US can illustrate the contradiction better between capitalists' concern about cost-effective programs and the public good as does medical insurance for its citizens. The apparent contradiction reveals that capitalists are much more interested in the private accumulation of wealth, not the public good. In other words, capitalism only serves one small class of people--the One Percent. 

Of course, the other countries are run by capitalists, but they were forced to compromise with much more militant members of the 99 Percent than has existed here in the US.

However, the article from this liberal source misses the point with its exclusive emphasis on regulation of prices. All of these countries, including Japan, have some major form of government involvement in medical coverage of its citizens and have excluded the private sector believing correctly that profit-making enterprises have no place in healthcare. Looking at the Japanese plan, according to Wikipedia the government does regulate prices, but it also forbids private ownership of hospitals; and from my reading of the Wikipedia entry, it also forbids private health insurance for employees--they are covered by non-profit plans such as the following: 
  • Union Managed Health Insurance
  • Government Managed Health Insurance
  • Seaman’s Insurance
  • National Public Workers Mutual Aid Association Insurance
  • Local Public Workers Mutual Aid Association Insurance
  • Private School Teachers’ and Employees’ Mutual Aid Association Insurance