One of the most critical issues for the vast majority of Americans is the rising cost of health care coverage in our country. Forty-seven million Americans have no health care coverage at all.
For those fortunate enough to receive coverage, many have inadequate, bare-bones policies that fail to cover them when they need it most. Others are dropped from their plans when they become problematic.
The main problem is the health insurance industry, which is composed of large corporations whose only concern is to maximize profits. They learned very early on that the less health care they provide, the more money they make. So they screen people and deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and illnesses. One third of every dollar spent on private health insurance goes to the administrative costs and profits of the industry.
As a field canvasser fighting for state-wide health care in Washington, I’ve heard personal horror stories about the costs of health care. One lady was forced to sell her house to pay for her open-heart surgery after her insurance company dropped her coverage plan. Another could not get coverage at all because the insurance provider considered her pregnancy to be a pre-existing condition.
Many rely on their large employer to cover their health care costs. But what protection do they have when the employer moves abroad in search of higher profits? And what of the self-employed people and the small-business owners who get crushed by covering health care costs for their employees? Half of all bankruptcies in our country are caused by medical bills.
Each year in our great country, approximately 18,000 people die because they lack access to health care. That’s six times as many as were killed on 9/11. In the meantime, the health care and pharmaceutical industries spend billions each year lobbying the US government. How is it that we live in the wealthiest country in the world, yet nearly a third of our citizens have insubstantial health-care coverage?
The issue of health care was hardly mentioned at all in the 2004 Presidential debates. Fortunately, this year it is actually on the lips of our projected leaders. The Republicans speak of ‘tax deductions‘ and ‘free-market solutions‘ to solve the problems of American health care costs, while warning of the evils of ‘socialized medicine‘. And the Democratic front-runners all boast about ‘universal health care coverage‘.
But the fact is that there is only one candidate running with the proper solution to save America from its enormous medical costs and failures. He usually doesn’t receive questions about the issue during presidential debates, so in the most recent Democratic forum, Dennis Kucinich took the opportunity to ask himself a question:
That’s right; Dennis Kucinich is the ONLY candidate running with a single-payer, not-for-profit health-care plan. There is overwhelming public support for this system, yet the plans of all the other Democratic candidates still rely on the for-profit health insurance industry.
Did you notice the smug Hillary Clinton laughing it up? She happens to be the largest acceptor of donations from the private health care industry. Check here for an analysis of the health-care plans of the Democratic front-runners.
Speaking of health care, I highly recommend seeing the film Sicko. Usually Michael Moore makes me angry because he doesn’t present his case as well as it could be, and he has a polarizing tendency which hurts the credibility of his argument. But in taking on the health care issue, love him or hate him, you cannot really argue with much of the content. The health care situation in the United States is a growing crisis that needs to be fixed with real solutions.