13 July 2007

Three talking points

David Welch of Chico wrote such a good letter to the editor of the Chico Enterprise-Record that you don't really need to see the piece he's reacting to. His three points are great talking points:

Sandra Pooley's attack on Michael Moore, single-payer health care and the California Nurses Association shares a notable common feature with all right-wing attacks of single payer in that it's completely fact free.

Anyone who examines actual facts, as opposed to slogans, innuendo and rumors, has to conclude that single payer is the only solution for fixing the failed American system.

Single-payer systems around the world vary quite a lot — different financing mechanisms, different administrative structures, larger or smaller roles for the private sector. Despite that variation, they all have three things in common:

1. They cover everyone in their country. You'll never see anyone in Canada, France or Britain holding a yard sale to cover someone's medical costs.

2. They achieve population health results and specific health care outcomes comparable to the U.S. or a bit better — sometimes a lot better.

3. They do it for about half what the U.S. currently spends, or less — often a lot less.

Of course the right-wing strategy for dealing with those facts is not to confront them but to just pretend they don't exist.

Business Week magazine — a rather conservative business journal — has a new article in their July 9 issue on the French system. I would recommend it to anyone who still imagines that the U.S. has "the best health care in the world."

— David Welch, Chico

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