On Universal Health Care

Despite my enthusiastic support of the new president, I’m rather disappointed with Barak Obama’s apparent lack of interest in leading the country to a universal health care system. I’m afraid that the feeble attempts of the office of Tom Daschle (who now heads the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is most likely to be in charge of the health care reform) to reduce health care costs and make healt care more affordable (whatever this means) will do more bad than good. Nevertheless, I hope that some day the U.S.A. will join the rest of the civilized world and guarantee all its citizens — young and old, rich and poor, working and unemployed — access to health care.

Here are some facts pertaining to the U.S. health care:

  • Number of uninsured (per 2007 Census): 45.7 million (15.3% of the population)
  • Number of people whose health care is already covered by the government (per 2008 Census): 83 million (27.8% of the population)
  • Health care spending as percent of GDP (per 2007 HHS report): 15.3% (highest among all industrial countries)
  • Infant mortality (per 2008 CIA World Factbook): 6.3 per 1,000 (highest among industrial countries)

If you are interested in the subject, here are some references, which will help you learn about different aspects of universal health care in other industrial countries and efforts to bring universal health care in the U.S.A.:

Universal Health Care (blog dedicated to universal health care)
A Primer on Universal Health Care (controversies, videos, articles, actions)
House Resolution (H.R.) 676 (The United States National Health Insurance Act; “Expanded & Improved Medicare for ALL”)
Physicians for a National Health Program (a non-profit research and education organization of 15,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance)
Frontline: Sick Around the World (video: an online documentary examines how five other capitalist democracies — United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland — deliver health care, and what the United States might learn from their successes and failures; also, see a discussion with Charlie Rose and film’s director T. R. Reid)
Fresh Air: Bioethics And The Obama Administration (audio: bioethicist Arthur Caplan discusses the health care challenges facing the Obama administration)

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