Single Payer Health Care

Here's an eye-opening letter to the editor of The Economist, Jan 22, 2009 issue:


"SIR – Michael Moore’s claim that Cuba has a better health-care system than the United States is not as “ridiculous” as you think (“Health screen”, January 10th). The United States was ranked 37th in the latest report on health care from the World Health Organization, whereas Cuba ranked 39th. I suspect there is little difference between being placed 37th and 39th. However, when productivity is factored in Cuba’s health-care system does indeed seem to be more effective than America’s. America spends 15% of GDP on health care (which works out at $6,700 per person in 2006 dollars) while Cuba spends 8% ($360 per person). Most businesses would consider themselves better than their competitors if they delivered an equivalent product or service at one-twentieth the cost. Kenneth McLeod, Chair, Department of bioengineering, Binghamton University"

People here in the US don't hear such things because there is a Media Blackout on Single-Payer Healthcare (3/6/2009) The AARP represents insurance companies more than it does seniors. Media is a problem that may need to be fixed before healthcare.

More than 60 lawmakers have co-sponsored H.R. 676, the single-payer bill in Congress, but media never talks about it. Given the high level of popular support the policy enjoys, that's all the more reason it should be front and center in the public debate about the future of healthcare.

The Republicans on talk radio, when they are not considering rebellion, call this socialism. Bear in mind that they are dispensing cool-aid for the corporate elite and the last thing that they would tolerate is a thoughtful discussion of optimal division of responsibilities between the public and private sectors.

Who Prefers a Public Health Insurance Option?

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