As a conservative, I am curious about how the public will punish the right wing for their gross obstructionism and complete bankruptcy of ideas regarding health care. This is an area where the Republican Party, run by the extreme right wing, demonstrates again just how far they have strayed from core conservative principles.
The fiscal conservative wants as much as he can get for his dollar. He doesn’t like wasteful spending. So, when it comes to healthcare, there are a couple of really simple facts that should drive every conservative in America to support radical change in what we do.
First, healthcare costs us twice as much as it costs the rest of the developed world. Absorb that a minute, because the media would have you believe think that we have reasonably priced healthcare in this country. There are several sources of information on the cost of healthcare – the REAL COST is what I am looking at – what does it cost us as a country to deliver healthcare to our citizens – regardless of how that is done? In 2007, Congressional Research Service, (remember congress was still controlled by the right wing in 2007 when this report was published), reported that in 2004, the US spent just over $6000 per person on healthcare. This is twice the average of other developed countries, (1st world big economy countries), and about 20% higher than the next most expensive nation.
So that’s the first half of the equation – we pay WAY more than everyone else in the world for healthcare. Not just a little more – TWICE AS MUCH! The fiscal conservative in me doesn’t like this at all. But wait, maybe healthcare in the country is just so good – just so much better than everywhere else – that this is one of those places where I need to just cool my jets, and accept that our culture wants to spend way more in order to get really really really great healthcare.
So I look around, and start asking the question. Just how much better is healthcare in the country than in the rest of the western world? Not for the ultra rich who can afford anything they want, but for the entire country – for all of us – because at the end of the day, one way or the other, we are all paying that $6000+/year to get this really cadillac healthcare, right?
Well, come to find out that we don’t deliver healthcare that stands out head and shoulders above the rest of the developed world.
But wait, it’s worst. We don’t deliver healthcare that is better than all the rest of the countries at all.
But wait, it’s worst. We don’t deliver healthcare that is as good as the top western nations in the world.
In fact, the quality of the healthcare that we deliver in this country is worst than the entire western world. The key here is to measure some objective metric that applies across the population, and demonstrates overall health levels of the population as a whole. You can be unfair about this if you want, and look for only those measurements that either prove this as an understatement if you are one side of the argument, or those that prove this as an overstatement if you are on the other side of the argument. A good article in the Christian Science Monitor tries to put the best face possible on it I think – from the same year that the cost numbers above are quoted – 2004.
I don’t want to split hairs. I am paying twice as much as the rest of the developed world, and I am not getting healthcare that is better than the rest of the world. THAT is indisputable regardless of what you want to argue.
So, the fiscal conservative in me says what we have is clearly the WRONG way to deliver healthcare, and we should be looking at the rest of the developed world to see what we can learn from them on how to do this better than we have been doing it.
Don’t know the answers yet, all I know is that the Republican Party has been hell-bent throughout this debate on making sure that nothing changes. They haven’t been offering alternatives plans or other ways to think about it – they have just been playing good lackeys to the corporate medical world, and doing all they can to prevent change.
And me, as a conservative, is disgusted once again at how far the Republican Party has strayed from true conservative principles.
And will the public punish them in any way? So long as the media keeps up their outstanding work of keeping the wool pulled down low over our eyes, and moving those shells around, they might just get away with it.
How incredibly sad…