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MUST SEE ..
Michael Moore's new film "Sicko"
Here is the download link:http://u2r2h.blogspot.com/2007/06/download-sicko-new-movie-by-michael...
Two Models of Health Care Rationing
Sick and Sicker
By Dr. SUSAN ROSENTHAL, M.D.
Everyone knows that Canadians live longer and have lower infant
mortality rates than Americans. In Sicko, Michael Moore suggests that
a Canadian-style medical system would solve this problem.
Surprisingly, the evidence indicates that it would not.
A cross-border team of 17 researchers (including high-profile
supporters of the Canadian system) examined a variety of medical
problems, including cancer, coronary artery disease, chronic illness
and surgical procedures. With the single exception of end-stage kidney
disease, where Canadian patients fared better, they found no
consistent difference in patient outcomes between the two nations.1 As
I have argued elsewhere, the United States has the worst health
statistics in the industrialized world because it is the most unequal
society in the industrialized world.2
Although Canada's medical system does not produce generally better
patient outcomes, it is more equitable and far more economical. In
2003, the average American spent almost twice as much for medical care
as the average Canadian. Exorbitant medical bills are a constant worry
and a major cause of personal bankruptcy. Profit-taking is responsible
for the high cost of American medicine. However, the Canadian system
is also subject to market forces.
Contrary to popular belief, Canada does not have a single-payer
medical system. Government pays about 70 percent of medical costs,
including most hospital and physician care. Individuals and private
insurance companies pay the remaining 30 percent for prescription
drugs, dental and vision care, ambulance, medical devices, home care
and other services.
To contain costs, both the United States and Canada ration medical
care, but they do this in different ways. In the U.S., more than 47
million people have no medical insurance at all. The Institute of
Medicine estimates that 18,000 people die every year as a result. In
Canada, lack of access is more equitably spread across the population
in the form of long waits for assessment and treatment. We don't know
how many Canadians die while waiting for treatment, because no one is
counting the bodies.3 The Canadian model of rationing is sick, and the
American model is sicker because it unfairly discriminates against
those who cannot pay. Neither is good enough. Medical care is a human
right and should not be rationed at all.
Disgust with the American medical system has built support for HR 676--
The United States National Health Insurance Act--a single-payer system
where medical care would be publicly financed and privately delivered.
Winning HR 676 would be a tremendous victory. However, the Canadian
experience shows that private delivery of medical care opens the door
to parasitical profit-taking.
The Canadian experience ...
Quebec's model health-care system has been damaged severely by funding
cuts. In 2005, Canada's Supreme Court ruled that lack of timely access
to treatment in Quebec was serious enough that the province could no
longer prohibit private funding for medically necessary services.
Similar legal challenges are expected in the other provinces.
Unless the public system is resuscitated with a major transfusion of
funds, it's only a matter of time before private hospitals begin
servicing those who can pay to go to the front of the line.
Ironically, while Americans long for a Canadian-style medical system,
that system is disintegrating under the pressure of market forces.
Why ration medicine?
The capitalist class will pay anything to defend and extend its power.
No ceiling has been set on spending to win the war for Middle-East
oil. In contrast, there is fierce resistance to funding any services
for workers beyond the minimum required to keep them productive. As
the competition for capital increases, most governments are reducing
their investment in health, education and social services --robbing
the public sector to boost the profitability of the private sector. No
nation and no medical system are immune to the relentless drive for
The American medical system will be reformed. Ordinary people want
medical services. Business complains that the cost of medical benefits
is hurting their profits and global competitiveness; they want to
transfer these costs to the public sector. Because Americans pay
almost 90 percent more per-capita on medical care than Canadians do,
rationalizing the medical system would offer fantastic cost savings.
The real question is how it will be reformed.
The key demand is for affordable medical care. With almost 60 percent
of the American workforce making less than $15 an hour, affordable
care would have to be free. That shouldn't be a problem. A nation that
can find the money to pay for war can find the money to pay for
universal health care --in theory.
In practice, capitalism prioritizes cost-efficiency over human need by
"industrializing" social services. The work of medicine is dissected
into components that are individually priced and parceled out. The
profitable parts are handed to the private sector and the unprofitable
portions remain in the public realm or are abandoned altogether. While
applying industrial methods to medicine is cost-effective from a
business point of view, it fragments health care. Planning health
services to meet population needs and integrating prevention and
treatment, hospital and community care become impossible.
Winning HR 676 would be a definite step in the right direction.
However, we need to go further. Eliminating profit from the medical
system requires public financing and public delivery of services
(socialized medicine). More than that, all health and social services
must be provided as a human right --fully funded, fully integrated and
with no rationing. If capitalism cannot meet these basic needs, then
we need to construct a socialist society that can.
Dr. Susan Rosenthal has been practicing medicine for more than 30
years and has written many articles on the relationship between health
and human relationships. She is also the author of Striking Flint:
Genora (Johnson) Dollinger Remembers the 1936-1937 General Motors Sit-
Down Strike (1996) and Market Madness and Mental Illness: The Crisis
in Mental Health Care (1999) and Power and Powerlessness. She is a
member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981. She can be
reached through her website: www.powerandpowerlessness.typepad.com