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The Case for Socialized Medicine in the United States, and the Struggle to Achieve It
by Steven Argue (steveargue2 [at] yahoo.com)
Wednesday Jan 2nd, 2008 7:27 PM
Today Republican candidate Mitt Romney has declared of Hillary Clinton’s promised health care plan, “It’s a European-style socialized medicine plan, that’s where it leads–and that’s the wrong direction for America” (Shulte).

Yet, unfortunately, Clinton’s plan has nothing in common with socialized medicine, neither of the European variety, nor the Canadian single payer. Her plan is to keep the broken and expensive capitalist system of health care, a system that keeps the insurance industry in charge of life and death questions of whether or not we receive health care when we need it.

In addition, the Clinton plan would make the purchase of health insurance by America’s uninsured mandatory for those who do not get insurance from their employer and who do not qualify for government assistance. Yet, the problem for America’s nearly 50 million uninsured is not that we don’t want to have insurance, the problem is that we can’t afford it. Clinton’s plan of making us criminals for not purchasing health insurance will not resolve this fundamental problem.
1491923118_935851ab5f.jpg
(Photo by Andrew Davey)

The Case for Socialized Medicine in the United States,
and the Struggle to Achieve It

By Steven Argue

As someone without healthcare, I support the idea of socialized medicine for the United States. Socialized medicine will bring healthcare to everyone. Besides legitimate self-interest, my personal position comes from being an advocate for social justice with a vision of an egalitarian society. As such, I not only see universal access to healthcare as a basic human right, I also see that socialized healthcare will mitigate some of the racial and class inequalities in our society. In addition, socialized medicine is cheaper than the costs of current system of for-profit capitalist healthcare. It also looses the profit motive of insurance companies to deny needed procedures. From this knowledge, and these personal convictions, I am strongly in favor of socialized healthcare in the United States like that established in Europe as well as established in Cuba with the 1959 revolution. Short of a fully socialized healthcare system I see that the single payer system (i.e. socialized health insurance run by the government), like in Canada, would be a significant step forward for the United States.

In the United States there’s a lot of confusion on terminology. With a system of socialized medicine hospitals are directly owned by the government and doctors are government employees. It’s a universal system where everyone is covered and all health care is paid for by the government. Under a single payer health care plan, health care is universal and paid for by the government, but it is a system still largely based on private hospitals and private physicians.

Two main arguments are encountered when discussing socialized medicine. One argument is that it will cost too much. The second argument is that socialized medicine doesn’t work to provide adequate healthcare. Neither argument stands up to scrutiny.
Socialized medicine and single payer medicine actually cost less than the United State’s current for profit capitalist health care system. Both statistics and common sense back this up.

According to statistics from 2003, the United States spends $5,711 per capita per year for health care while Canada spends about half of that, $2,998 per capita per year (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2007). In fact, the costs per capita are much cheaper in every other developed country with some form of socialized healthcare. In other examples Sweden spends $2,745, Germany $2,983, and the United Kingdom $2,317 (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2007). In addition, Cuba , with their well known socialized healthcare system, spent only $251 per capita on healthcare in 2006 (United Nations World Health Organization, 2006).

The reason socialized insurance is much cheaper and more efficient than private health insurance is because single payer eliminates the health insurance racket with all of its waste in capitalist profits, paperwork, and overpaid CEOs. In addition, such insurance practices as routinely denying needed medical procedures to keep profits up are eliminated, thus reducing capitalism as being the cause of death.

Socialized healthcare does work. It is working very well in Cuba. Cuban life expectancy in 2006 was 77.6 years, while the life expectancy of the United States for that same year was slightly less, 77.5 years (United Nations Development Program, 2006). It is interesting that poor Cuba with a history of poverty before their 1959 socialist revolution, and a devastating U.S. imposed economic blockade since, is able to provide good healthcare for everyone through socialized medicine. Cuba, unlike the United States, does not let people die in the emergency rooms without treatment, turn sick people away from receiving healthcare because they lack insurance, or allow insurance companies to decide, based on profit motive, whether the insured actually receive the care they paid for and need. The Cubans have done this by taking the profit out of illness and injury and providing healthcare as a basic human right.

Canada, like Cuba, has a higher life expectancy than the United States. In 2004 the life expectancy of Canada hit 80.2 years (Statistics Canada, 2004). With Canada’s socialized health insurance system, like Cuba’s socialized medical system, every single person is covered. In the United States 45.8 million Americans do not have health insurance (U.S. Department of Health and human Services, 2005).

On another key indicator of health, infant mortality, the United States is also nearly the worst in the developed world, only worse than the recently turned capitalist country of Latvia (Green, 2006). The infant mortality rate in the United States in 2002 was 7.0 deaths before the age of one per every 1,000 live births (Center for Disease Control, 2005). In comparison, other advanced countries with forms of socialized medicine and socialized health insurance have lower infant mortality. This includes rates per thousand births in Japan of 3.2, Germany with 4.4, Italy with 4.5, France with 4.6, and the United Kingdom with 5.6 (Treasury Board of Canada, 2003).

Cuba, with their system of socialized medicine has an infant mortality rate of 6.2 per thousand live births, a rate much lower the United States rate of 7.0 per every thousand live births (BBC News, 2002). This is also lower than every other Latin American country (BBC News, 2002).

The only other country in the Americas with an infant mortality lower than Cuba is Canada with their system of socialized health insurance. The Canadian infant mortality rate in the year 2000 was 5.3 (Treasury Board of Canada, 2003).

In addition, a United Nations report on the status of Native Americans in Canada has credited Canada’s relatively recently established socialized health insurance system with drastically reducing an extremely high infant mortality among Native Americans (United Nations, 1993). In 1979, that death rate for Canadian Native Americans was 27.6 per thousand live births, but by 1999 it had dropped to 8.0 deaths per thousand live births (Treasury Board of Canada, 2003). These improvements coincide with Canada’s passage of the Canada Health Act in 1984 that brought their socialized insurance system to the entire country at that time (Health Canada, 2002).

For Blacks in the United States between 1995 and 2002, the infant mortality rate was 13.9, more than double the rate of 5.9 for whites in the same time period (Center for Disease Control, 2005). Canadian statistics are a strong indication that a socialized insurance system in the United States could both decrease the infant mortality rate of the general population and dramatically decrease the infant mortality of oppressed and impoverished minorities such as Blacks, as it did for Canadian Native Americans.

The statistics show that socialized medicine is cheaper, saves lives, and helps alleviate class and racial inequalities in healthcare.

Prospects for Socialized and Single Payer Medicine

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has declared, "It's time to provide quality affordable health care for every American, and I intend to be the president who accomplishes that goal finally for our country" (CNN.com). This is the same promise that Bill Clinton made when he ran for office in 1992.

After being elected, in Bill Clinton’s first State of the Union address, he said, “And on any given day, over 37 million Americans -- most of them working people and their little children -- have no health insurance at all.” Yet, despite Bill Clinton’s campaign promise of universal health care, his defeated proposal to congress would not have provided health care to every American, nor did it address the other fundamental problems of private health insurance. After his health care proposal was defeated, Clinton dropped the issue. In fact, the Bill Clinton administration was opposed to a bill for single payer health care introduced by Wellstone, Conyers, and Mcdermott that actually would have provided universal health care. By the time Bill Clinton left office, an additional three million more Americans were uninsured.

Today Republican candidate Mitt Romney has declared of Hillary Clinton’s promised health care plan, “It’s a European-style socialized medicine plan, that’s where it leads–and that’s the wrong direction for America” (Shulte).

Yet, unfortunately, Clinton’s plan has nothing in common with socialized medicine, neither of the European variety, nor the Canadian single payer. Her plan is to keep the broken and expensive capitalist system of health care, a system that keeps the insurance industry in charge of life and death questions of whether or not we receive health care when we need it.

In addition, the Clinton plan would make the purchase of health insurance by America’s uninsured mandatory for those who do not get insurance from their employer and who do not qualify for government assistance. Yet, the problem for America’s nearly 50 million uninsured is not that we don’t want to have insurance, the problem is that we can’t afford it. Clinton’s plan of making us criminals for not purchasing health insurance will not resolve this fundamental problem.

By making the purchase of health insurance mandatory Clinton makes the false claim that hers is a plan for universal health insurance as compared to the plan of Obama. Neither would provide universal health care. John Edwards has taken the absurdity of forced insurance purchases one step further, detailing a plan that would include the necessity of showing proof of health insurance at the time of paying taxes, with penalties for those who do not provide that proof.

In a similar fashion as Mitt Romney, Republican contender Rudolph Giuliani has extended false accusations of socialized medicine to other Democratic hopefuls stating, “Whether it’s HillaryCare or ObamaCare or EdwardsCare, the idea that it’s not socialized medicine is a trick. It’s a massive growth of government control of medicine” (Rovner).

The truth, however, is that the only presidential candidates of the Democrat and Republican Party that are for single payer health care are Democrats Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, and none are for full socialized medicine. The other major candidates, who oppose single payer, enjoy massive contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

In addition to being excluded from money, the Kucinich and Gravel campaigns have also been excluded from debates. Most recently, for the 2008 election, CNN and the Des Moines Register made the decision to exclude both Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel from a key debate in Iowa. Yet Biden and Dodd, who are behind Kucinich in the national polls, but who reject single payer health care, were allowed into the debate. This kind of undemocratic shenanigan is to be expected of CNN, a corporate media source that was forced to publicly apologize for a number of lies they told about Michael Moore’s pro-socialized medicine film “Sicko”.

While Kucinich has alienated the corporate power structure with his stand for single payer health care, he has also alienated much of his natural base by voting for Bush’s “War on Terror”, voting for the U.S. travel ban against Cuba, and by voting against Mumia Abu-Jamal.

In 2001 Kucinich voted in favor of the US travel ban against Cuba. The travel ban does not allow U.S. citizens to spend any money in Cuba, basically making travel to Cuba illegal. It is under the travel ban that Michael Moore has been harassed by the U.S. government for bringing sick 9/11 rescue workers, who were unable to receive medical treatment in the United States, for medical treatment in Cuba. The United States has had hostile relations with Cuba ever since the 1959 Cuban revolution overthrew the U.S. backed Batista dictatorship, nationalized the United Fruit Company owned by the Rockefeller family, ended Jim Crow style racist segregation, and began providing free socialized health care and education.

In contrast to Kucinich’s support for U.S. measures against Cuba, Mumia Abu-Jamal recognizes the gains Cuba has made in areas such as health care. Of the U.S. and Cuban health care systems, Mumia Abu-Jamal stated May 2nd, 2003:

“What about the human right to health care? In the US, you can obtain excellent health care if you can afford it. Cuba, meanwhile, boasts the largest number of doctors per capita on earth. They provide medical care to people all around the world. Indeed, there are more Cuban doctors working in other countries than the UN’s World Heath Organization. Millions of men, women and children in this country have no medical insurance and no real prospect for decent medical care.” (Abu-Jamal 5/2/03)

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner in the United States whose trial, according to Amnesty International, was not fair and “did not comply with international justice standards” (Amnesty International). Yet, in 2006 Kucinich voted to condemn the French City of St. Denis for naming a street after Mumia. The resolution boldly proclaimed Mumia’s guilt, despite international recognition of the injustice dished out to Mumia, and despite the fact that the courts are still reviewing the case. Despite the injustice represented by this resolution and despite 31 members of Congress voting against it, Kucinich voted for it.

Showing a similar lack of support for the needs of the people, Kucinich voted for Bush’s so-called “War on Terror”. This was a vote that effectively gave Bush the power to invade any country at any time. That vote could have been used for anything, and was used by Bush to invade Afghanistan. Likewise, despite pretending to be a peace candidate, Kucinich’s calls for a strong and efficient military do not address the fact that the United States is the most aggressive and dangerous nation in the world.

The tremendous lack of judgment on these three votes alone, along with Kucinich’s promotion of the pro-war, anti-single payer health care, and corporate controlled Democrat Party, have alienated the left from Kucinich’s campaign.

Presidential candidate Mike Gravel doesn’t have a recent voting record, but was actively opposed to the Vietnam War in Congress, voting to cut off funding for the war, and helping to release the Pentagon Papers that exposed many wrong doings by the U.S. government in Vietnam. On the issue of health care, Gravel states on his website that he proposes “a universal healthcare system that provides equal medical services to all citizens, paid for by a retail sales tax (a portion of the Progressive Fair tax)” (Gravel website). Yet, sales taxes are not fair taxes. They are regressive taxes that charge the poor a much higher percentage of their income than they charge the rich. While it is true that the rich are not paying their fair share under the current tax system, Gravel’s proposal is even worse.

Sadly for those who think solutions could come from the Democrat Party, Kucinich and Gravel are the best the Democrat Party could produce.

While the mainstream of the American political establishment rejects any form of socialized medicine, all political parties to the left of the Democrats and Republicans support some form of socialized medicine. This is true from the Green Party and Reconstruction Party to the various socialist parties who run candidates, including the Peace and Freedom Party, Socialist Action, Socialist Party, Workers World Party, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Freedom Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, and Socialist Equality Party.

Breaking from the pro-war anti-health care Democrat Party is former Georgia Democratic Congressperson Cynthia McKinney. In a video news release declaring her candidacy for president she says, “The Democrat is no different from their Republican counterparts, eat out of the hands of corrupt lobbyists and feed at the same corporate tough” (McKinney). McKinney is running for president on the Reconstruction Party ticket as well as in the Green Party primaries.

On health care McKinney states, "I've supported every universal single payer health care plan. She goes on to state, “People who rail against `socialized medicine' in Canada and the UK have to explain why life expectancy is longer in Canada and the UK, why infant mortality is lower in Canada and the UK" (Deeth). McKinney further denounces the war in Iraq stating that the money being squandered could be better used on social programs such as rebuilding New Orleans, child nutrition, and health care, stating in part, “one billion dollars a day can provide medical care for the 47 million Americans who don’t have health insurance” (McKinney).

Another Green Party candidate, Kent Mesplay, declares on his website:

“Medical attention is a human right not yet recognized by the United States government. Nearly every other industrialized country on the planet has National Health Care. We are tied with South Africa for last place. In the same manner that we have a socialized military that at best provides for some aspects of our physical security, single payer health insurance is necessary to ensure that all people within our borders receive at least a basic level of medical and dental care.” (Mesplay).

While this may be a good position on single payer health care, it ignores the fact that the U.S. military does not provide physical security to the people of the United States, but is instead used to kill and terrorize the people of the world for the security of the profits of American corporations.

Also supporting single payer health care, Green Party candidate Kat Swift states:

“Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, and other prominent Democrats are the greatest obstacle to universal health coverage. Except for a few mavericks like Rep. John Conyers [D-Mich.], who has regularly introduced single-payer bills, Democrats have joined Republicans in favoring HMO and insurance corporations over guaranteed publicly-financed quality health care for every American. It's a safe bet that the 2008 Democratic nominee will -- like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry before them -- follow the same pattern.”

Likewise, Green Party candidate Jared Ball, a Black free-lance journalist and college professor who calls for freeing Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, and all political prisoners states, “Medicine for profit cannot be sustained as a model of managing health care for any progressive society” (Ball).

To the left of the Green Party is Elaine Brown, a former Black Panther Party member and activist for social programs for the poor and for prison reform. On health care she declares herself for, “Full and free health care for everyone, as exists in most civilized countries.”

Elaine Brown was a candidate for nomination as Green Party candidate for president until, on December 28, 2007, she broke with the Green Party, pointing out it was a capitalist Party and accusing the Green Party of racism. In her public statement Brown declared, "In effect, the present Green Party leadership promotes a kinder, gentler capitalism, a moderated racism, an environmentally-sustainable globalism, which I cannot support." On racism in the party she declared she intended to use her campaign “to bring large numbers of blacks and browns into the Party, particularly from the hood and the barrio” but that the Green Party “hierarchy seemed utterly fearful of the prospect of a massive influx of blacks and browns into the Green Party". Brown has given no indication that she now intends to continue her run as a candidate to the left of the Greens.

To the left of the Green Party are socialist candidates that call for full socialized medicine, like in Europe and Cuba, but who also see that single payer health care would be a step forward. These include likely Socialist Equality Party candidate Bill Van Auken, who calls for full socialized medicine, and says of the Canadian Single Payer system as an imperfect form of “socialized medicine”.

Likewise Peace and Freedom Party candidate and Socialist Party USA nominee for vice president, Stewart Alexander states,

“I favor a fully socialized medical care system, with as a first step a single-payer system similar to Medicare, but covering people of all ages. I favor eliminating the "co-pays" that are such a burden, and keep people from seeking needed care. We should take the profit out of the health-care system, and fully fund it. (The money now spent on health care in the USA is about twice as much per person as is spent in Western Europe, with less effective delivery of care. No additional money would actually be needed, but taxes on the wealthy few should be used initially to help fund improvements.) Eventually, I favor a fully-socialized system, funded from the surplus of the socialized economy, with an emphasis on prevention and public health.” (Alexander)

Also advocating full socialized medicine is Socialist Party USA nominee and Peace and Freedom Party candidate Brian Moore. In the California Voters Guide he states that he would, “establish guaranteed minimum income, housing and socialized healthcare for all”.

Not mentioning socialized medicine, but supporting single payer, Party for Socialism and Liberation nominee and Peace and Freedom Party candidate Gloria La Riva states, “The three main focuses of my campaign will be to oppose the racist attacks on immigrants; to propose a massive jobs program and increased social spending as an alternative to anti-crime hysteria and new prisons; and to give strong support for Single Payer Healthcare” (La Riva).

While generally being a good activist party, a strong concern among many on the left towards the Party for Socialism and Liberation is their uncritical support for undemocratic communist models, a problem that will cause many to instead vote for non-Stalinist candidates such as Stewart Alexander or Brian Moore in the Peace and Freedom Party primaries, or for other anti-Stalinist socialist parties that may run candidates such as the Socialist Equality Party, Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Action, or the Freedom Socialist Party.

In contrast to some of the anti-democratic positions of Gloria La Riva’s party, presidential candidate Stewart Alexander states,

“Socialism is the common ownership of the means of production, but I like to be more specific. There are, have been, and can be many forms of socialism, but I believe that the best, strongest and most beneficial form of socialism, the kind of socialism I personally work for, is common ownership of the economy coupled with its democratic control by working people.” (Alexander)

Obviously, there are clear alternatives to the capitalist Democrat and Republican Parties that are working hard to promote a workers agenda that includes either fully socialized medicine or single payer healthcare. Yet, almost all of the unions of the United States remain committed to endorsing and financing Democrats and only Democrats in elections. A good number of unions, such as the SEIU, even endorse Democrats that are opposed to single payer health care and help fund the same campaigns that are being funded by the big insurance companies. These endorsements of the anti-worker politicians of the Democrat Party are a blatant violation of the interests of the membership. Such endorsements hurt attempts at building alternative parties that represent workers interests, and hurt the ability of workers to protest and strike against such politicians that are not representing our interests. Some other unions, such as the California Nurses Association, take the stand of only endorsing candidates who support single payer health care. This is a step forward, but many on the left see that a full break by labor from the corporate controlled Democrat Party will be necessary.

Ultimately, what is needed is the building of a spirit of resistance among workers, the unemployed, and students, where we no longer passively agree to politicians and union leaders who pretend to be lesser evils, but are rarely even that. We must challenge and change the organizations we are part of, and when that fails, break away and build new ones. Most importantly, we must fully resurrect the use of political strikes and demonstrations to force the bosses and government to give us what we need, as is often done in countries with socialized medicine such as France. It is this kind of resistance that won socialized healthcare in Europe after the Second World War, and it will be this that will bring socialized medicine to the United States.

This is an article of Liberation News, subscribe free:
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References:

Abu-Jamal, Mumia. "Mumia 5/2/03 Taped Commentary on Cuba." Radio4all and Prisonradio.org. Accessed 2 January, 2008. Available from: http://www.iacenter.org/polprisoners/maj_cuba03.htm. Internet.

Alexander, Stewart. “Presidential Candidate Questionnaire” Socialist National Committee, Socialist Party. Accessed 2 January, 2008. Available from: http://vote-socialist.org/p08/questionnaires/alexander.html. Internet.

Ball, Jared. “Healthcare.” Jared Ball for President Website. Accessed 2 January, 2008. Available from: http://www.jaredball.com/?cat=12. Internet.

“Clinton Unveils Mandatory Health Insurance Program” CNN.com. Accessed 2 January, 2008. Available from: http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/17/health.care/index.html. Internet.

“Concluding observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Canada”. 6 March, 1993. United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Accessed 26 September, 2007. Available from: http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:Jt9OTyVZWTYJ:http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/280a3783f5a26d09c12563e80058b47e%3FOpendocument+infant+mortality+ canada +%22united+nations%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=16&gl=us. Internet.

“Cuba Records Lowest Infant Mortality Rate”. BBC News. 3 January, 2002. Accessed 26 September, 2007. Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1739773.stm. Internet.

Deeth, John. "Cynthia McKinney Brings Green Campaign to Iowa City." Iowa Independent. Accessed 2 January, 2008. Available from: http://www.iowaindependent.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=3D80FCACF0E1EC162CC087F14BCF9BC5?diaryId=1610. Internet.

Green, Jeff. “U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world, report says”. 10 May, 2006. CNN.Com. Accessed 26 September, 2007. Available from: http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/parenting/05/08/mothers.index/index.html. Internet.

Health Canada, Government of Canada. 25 November, 2002. Accessed 26 September, 2007. Available from: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/nr-cp/2002/2002_care-soinsbk4_e.html. Internet.

“How Mike Stands on the Issues.” Mike Gravel ’08 Website. Accessed 2 January, 2008. Available from: http://www.gravel2008.us/issues. Internet.

“Human Development Report”. 2006. United Nations World Health Organization. Accessed 23 September, 2007. Available from: http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics/indicators/52.html. Internet.

La Riva, Gloria. “Gloria La Riva for Governor”. California Online Voting Guide. Accessed 2 January, 2008. Available from: http://calvoter.org/archive/94general/cand/governor/lari/larispeech3.html. Internet.

Mesplay, Kent. “Healthcare”. Kent Mesplay for President. Accessed 2 January, 2008. Available from: http://www.mesplay.org/healthcare.html. Internet.

McKinney, Cynthia. “Cynthia McKinney Announces Campaign for Presidency” McKinney for President 2008 Website. Accessed 2 January, 2008. Available from: http://www.runcynthiarun.org/node/25. Internet.

“Overview of the Uninsured in The United States, An Analysis of the 2005 Current Population Survey”. 22 September 2005. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed 23 September, 2007. Available from: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/05/uninsured-cps/index.htm. Internet.

“Presidents Report, Canada’s Performance 2003”. 2003. Treasury Board of Canada. Accessed 26 September, 2007. Available from: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/govrev/03/cp-rc-PR_e.asp?printable=True. Internet.

“Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Infant Mortality --- United States, 1995-2002”. 10 June 2005. MMWR Weekly. Center for Disease Control. Accessed 26 September, 2007. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5422a1.htm. Internet.

Rovner, Julie. “Socialized Medicine Belittled on Campaign Trail.” 6 December, 2007. NPR Morning Edition. Available from Physicians for a National Health Program: http://www.pnhp.org/news/2007/december/socialized_medicine_.php. Internet.

Shulte, Elizabeth. "Hillary Clinton’s First Health Care Non-Reform." 27 September, 2007. Dissident Voice. Available from: http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/09/hillary-clintons-first-health-care-non-reform/. Internet.

“Snapshots: Healthcare Costs”. Kaiser Family Foundation. January 2007. Accessed 23 September, 2007. Available from: http://www.kff.org/insurance/snapshot/chcm010307oth.cfm. Internet.

“Statistics Canada”. 20 December, 2006. The Daily. Accessed 23 September, 2007. Available from: http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/061220/d061220b.htm. Internet.

“USA: Mumia Abu-Jamal -- Overturning of death sentence falls short of full justice” 19 December, 2001. Amnesty International. Available from: http://www.amnesty.org/en/alfresco_asset/9e6893af-a3f9-11dc-9d08-f145a8145d2b/amr511832001en.html. Internet.

***************
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Comments  (Hide Comments)

Check out our exclusive interview with democratic presidential candidate Senator Mike Gravel. We discuss his current campaign as well as his recent exclusion from the Des Moines Register debate. Listen to it in its entirety at http://media.libsyn.com/media/thirdrail/Third_Rail_Senator_Mike_Gravel_12.19.07.mp3
by Steven Argue
Thursday Jan 3rd, 2008 1:09 PM
Interesting interview.

I don't support Mike Gravel, but he does take a few good positions.
by Christian Scarborough
Thursday Jan 3rd, 2008 3:53 PM
I read an article in this publication on the need for nationalized healthcare and I’m not sure why someone educated enough to write the article doesn’t have health insurance, nor can I figure out why anyone thinks nationalized healthcare works in Cuba or anywhere else in the world. It doesn’t! The care people receive is pathetic, they wait forever to get it (often they die before they get it) and the doctors who participate in the system are the least qualified available. In the UK, for example, all the good specialists opt out of the nationalized system and only provide care to the wealthy. I was just in Scotland and many people there have never seen a dentist because there aren’t enough in the country. Why? Because it costs them a fortune to go to dental school and the government system pays them nothing to practice dentistry.



I represent the nation’s leading prostate cancer surgeon (Dr. Randy Fagin) and in the last month alone he has operated on 5 Canadians who would have died had they waited for care in Canada. Great system! Please watch the video from the link below to see about a Canadian man with a brain tumor who was told it would take four months to get an MRI and another four to have surgery should it prove to be brain cancer. Even after going to NY to get an MRI at his own expense, and taking the results back to his doctors in Canada, they said it would be four months before he could have surgery. He went back to NY and had the surgery, which allowed him to survive.

http://www.freemarketcure.com/brainsurgery.php

I pay for my own insurance and it really does not cost that much. One really nice dinner for two is all it costs me a month. I suggest people look into getting their own health insurance instead of expecting the government to take care of them.

by Steven Argue
Thursday Jan 3rd, 2008 5:55 PM
I don't understand how someone can look down on the poor people who make up the nearly 50 million people who are uninsured so much as to expect them to not be able to write.

While the Canadian system has declined as a result of NAFTA, and generally is not as good as a fully socialized health care system, the higher life expectancy of Canada, as well as their lower infant mortality, prove your claims wrong.

Likewise the statistics I’ve published in the article prove you wrong on Cuba, France Britain, and other countries with fully socialized medicine. Capitalist healthcare is a total failure in the United States, and is responsible for the deaths of countless millions of people.

Here is one person, one of many human tragedies behind the lower life expectancy of the people of the United States:

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/01/03/18469846.php
by Gratefil
Friday Jan 4th, 2008 5:48 AM
Mr. Steve....

One of the best-researched thingees I've ever seen at IMC. Whew. Totally worth buying more packages of peas to treat the contusions from banging my head after noting:

A) All the xposing of this...which is your bane...and my headache, not yours....

B) The growing realization that my progressive employer, which has charged me with seeking justice for workers throughout the world, could---concievely---chastise me for my ........anti-worker???!!...union activity with an SEIU International that grinds regressively on *head explodes*. My Local is stridently pro-single payer...thank the gods I'm a Seattle boy....but the Andy/Walmart axis is a dark point in the history of worker/Mgmt. relations...and building a better world. So.....you've supplied me with easy-access ammo for my next union meeting...as they're clawing at me to throw my mad skills their way (...*raises purple fist*)....let the games begin...
by Stop Schwartzegger-Stern Scam
Friday Jan 4th, 2008 6:57 AM
seiu_stern_withca_gov_nunez.jpg
SEIU President Andy Stern in a coup took over the state council of the SEIU
and then helped the HMO's, the republicrats and Schwartzanegger pass a
insurance scheme that keeps the insurance companies in
control of healthcare. These union "leaders" are true parasites
on the working class.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-health29dec29,1,6780091.story?coll=la-headlines-california

Health reform initiative is filed

Cigarette taxes would jump to $1.75 a pack to help finance the plan.

By Michael Rothfeld
Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2007

Sacramento — Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger formally filed an initiative Friday that would finance their plan for a $14.4-billion expansion of healthcare to most Californians, in part by almost doubling the state tax on cigarettes to $1.75 a pack.

The afternoon submission to the state attorney general's office sets the stage for what is expected to be a costly and contentious battle pitting the two state leaders and their allies against some powerful opponents. Potential adversaries include state business groups, the tobacco industry, drug companies and Blue Cross, California's largest insurer.

"Taking on Big Tobacco and the private insurance industry is going to be a difficult challenge," Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) said in a statement. "But this is the most effective way to fund the reform we need to fix California's broken healthcare system."

The plan, which needs approval from the state Senate, would provide medical coverage starting in 2010 to 3.6 million people in California, including 800,000 children, who don't have insurance now, backers say.

The proposed cigarette tax, which would be instituted in mid-2009, is one of the taxes and fees that would help pay for the plan. It is higher than the $1.50-a-pack surcharge that the state leaders had previously announced in connection with the bill, ABX 1 1, which was approved by the Assembly on Dec. 17. But it is a middle ground between the $1.50 Schwarzenegger had wanted and the $2-per-pack tax preferred by Nuñez.

The state's current cigarette tax is 87 cents a pack.

"We oppose the cigarette tax increase," Bill Phelps, a spokesman for Virginia-based Philip Morris USA, said Friday. "In expanding programs, we don't think it makes sense to fund it with a declining revenue source. Cigarette sales have been declining for many years."

He said he would not speculate on whether the company would get involved in fighting the California initiative.

Organized labor is split on the plan. One of the influential unions that supports it, the Service Employees International Union, is expected to take a lead role in collecting signatures to put the initiative on next November's ballot and in persuading voters to approve it.

A committee to raise money and to work on gathering the nearly 700,000 required signatures to get the measure on the ballot is to be announced next week. Beth Capell, a lobbyist for SEIU based in Sacramento, said that though the opposition may bring a lot of money to the initiative fight, it would not be an insurmountable obstacle.

"You don't actually have to match the opposition in order to win," she said. "You have to have enough to make your case to the voters."

One complication, politically, is that the voters are being asked to approve new taxes that would do nothing to resolve the state's projected $14-billion budget deficit for the coming fiscal year.

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) has cited the plan's effect on state finances as a serious concern. If the Senate passed the legislation with significant changes, that could require the initiative to be rewritten.

In addition, some observers have questioned the viability of the state proposal in light of a U.S. District Court ruling Wednesday that said a similar plan in San Francisco conflicted with federal law. An appeal of that decision is expected, and advocates of the state plan say they don't think it will keep them from moving forward.

Besides the tobacco tax, the state plan's other revenue sources include a fee on employers ranging from 1% to 6.5% of their payroll, depending on the size of the payroll. The money would go into a new California Health Care Trust Fund to help those who cannot afford it buy insurance. Companies that spend the required amount on healthcare for their employees would be eligible to receive credit on their taxes for the fees they pay to the state. New fees would be levied on hospitals.

The initiative specifies that the money deposited into the healthcare fund cannot be touched by the state for other purposes. It also details a process by which some of the new programs would be suspended if the revenue sources ran short and state lawmakers failed to come up with a solution.

Because the legislation may cause some children to be cut off from healthcare funded by county or city programs in a gradual transition to the state program, the initiative also stipulates that a $25-million loan will be taken from the state's general fund to bridge the gap.

michael.rothfeld [at] latimes.com

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_j.htm#circ
1300. (07-0055, Amdt. #1S)
Subject: Attorney General's Title and Summary of Initiative
Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2007 19:26:02 -0800

1300. (07-0055, Amdt. #1S)
Health Care. Constitutional Amendment.
Summary Date: 12/06/07 Circulation Deadline: 05/05/08 Signatures Required: 694,354
Proponent: James R. Smith
Directs Legislature to establish a “California Health Security Plan”. Plan shall be free to all members and fully funded by “general revenue and sources” as directed by Legislature. Requires plan to pay for all medical, mental health, dental and vision care. Directs plan to provide equal care for all members. Makes all residents who have resided in state for ten months of previous year eligible for plan. Provides for some residents to be automatically enrolled. Requires privacy of medical records of members. Requires Legislature to establish an elected oversight board. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net unknown costs to state and local government, potentially in the low tens of billions of dollars; these costs would be greater or lesser depending on actions taken by the Governor or Legislature in structuring the health coverage expansion program. (Initiative 07-0055.) (Full Text)
http://ag.ca.gov/cms_pdfs/initiatives/i724_07-0055_Initiative_A1S.pdf

http://www.californiansforhealthsecurity.org/

The California Health Security Initiative

Text of the Proposed Initiative for the Nov. 4 2008 Ballot:


The California Health Security Plan

The State of California shall establish the California Health Security Plan, which shall meet the following requirements:

• All current residents of California shall be eligible to join the Plan, provided they have physically resided in the state for ten months of the previous year. In addition, the Plan shall automatically enroll and deliver membership cards to all California income tax filers who have California addresses and their dependents.


• Membership in the Plan shall require no premiums, copayments or deductibles. The Plan shall be fully funded by such general revenues and sources as the Legislature may enact.

• The Plan shall pay for the health care of members. "Health care" shall include all treatments, prescription drugs, devices, emergency care, preventive measures, rehabilitative care, longterm care, mental healthcare, dental care, vision care, women's healthcare, care for work-related injuries and other care classified as medically necessary by the California Health Security Board, as described below.

• The Plan shall implement the principle of equal care for all. The plan shall be evaluated by data on outreach, access, treatments, and outcomes; administration of the Plan shall be modified to achieve equal outreach, access, treatment, and outcome for all. Privacy of medical records and the right to have hard copies of medical records will be required of this healthcare security plan for the patients.

• The Legislature shall establish an elected Board of healthcare workers and Plan members composed of one board member from each Congressional district elected by the people in the same time, place and manner as the U.S. President. The Legislature shall appoint an initial Board within 60 days of certification of this initiative, and thereafter the Board shall be elected.

• The Board's classification of medically necessary care shall include at least 95 percent of all California spending on health care. The definition of such spending shall adhere to the definitions used to collect statistics on care, services, supplies, and public health activities by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or its successor agency. The Board shall be empowered to negotiate with
pharmaceutical corporations for lower prescription drug prices and for all goods and services for this plan. The Board shall make an annual report to the people of California on the state of their health security.

• The Legislature shall implement the major provisions of this Plan within one year, following the certification of its passage.

CHSInitiative [at] gmail.com

Questions & Answers:



Is there a conflict between the provisions of the California Health Security Plan and Senate Bill 840?

No. The CHSP puts the principles of equal care for all into the State constitution, while Senate Bill 840 is proposed legislation to enact the details that do not belong in the constitution. The bill has been amended often. In its current form a few provisions of SB 840, such as the possibility of copayments and deductibles at some future date, would have to be amended out of the bill.


Does the California Health Security Plan rely on the same financing sources as SB 840?

SB 840 does not specify financing. That job is left to a companion bill that has hardly begun its journey through the legislature.


Shoud I work for an initiative to pass the California Health Security Plan instead of working for SB 840?

There is no need to choose. We want the CHSP initiative on the Nov. 2008 ballot. Everyone acknowledges that SB 840 will not become law by itself so long as Arnold Schwarzenegger is governor, and his term runs through 2010. Putting the CHSP into our constitution will advance the single payer movement.



Does a person need to file an income tax return to get health care?

No! The California Health Security Plan includes everyone who shows he or she "physically resided in the state for ten months of the previous year." The income tax roll is simply used as a tool for automatic enrollment that gets the plan off to a great start.



by Steven Argue
Friday Jan 4th, 2008 9:22 AM
Thanks Gratephil!

I was on the Executive Board of my local of the SEIU here in Santa Cruz for a couple years.

Of the SEIU President Andy Stern-Wal Mart stuff, yes, yuck.

And thanks to the poster of, "Stop Schwarzenegger-Stern Scam".

Double yuck on the Schwarzenegger-Stern "insurance company" bill.

Schwarzenegger vetoed Senator Sheila's S. 840, which is a good universal single payer bill.

Andy Stern is now promoting Schwarzenegger's "insurance company" bill - which is what we have now with premiums going higher and higher each day, and care being denied by insurance companies. It is a total betrayal of the SEIU membership for Stern to be promoting this crap.


Here's something from last summer's Common Dreams that you may also find interesting:

California Nurses' DeMoro Says SEIU on the Side of the Bosses
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/26/2113/
* For Balance...we must not just support Public Funded-Public Administered health care, we must also be AGAINST privatized, corporatized, profit-dominated health care.

* Just One Thing Wrong with the privatized for-profit system is that it is administered by Insurance Firms that may be owners of enormous stock holdings in some of the worst Health Damaging Industries.

Here is an unfortunatly under-reported story about that vital aspect:
http://www.pnhp.org/news/2000/march/insurers_are_major_i.php
(Note presence of CIGna Insurance...)

* Such insurers have motive and Fiduciary DUTY to:

a) make the most money as possible for shareholders;
b) provide as little as possible in services to patients'
c) hide or ignore or underplay health harms caused by their investment properties
d) hide or ignore or underplay health harms caused by any of their corporate insurance clients;
e) promote drugs from Pharmaceuticals that they may be invested in over other drugs that may be safer, more effective, and less costly;
f) ignore, hide, underplay any problems with drugs made by their investment properties;
g) and to work against "alternative health care" routes that may involve unpatented natural plants... herbs, vitamns, teas, etc etc


* If Purchase of Private Insurance is made Compulsory, the public will be forced, by law, at virtual gun-point, to patronize insurers that may be investors in firms that a person would NEVER care to support, even indirectly, for moral, religious, political, environmental or even business reasons.

* It is urgent to now DEMAND that any Compulsory Insurance Program INCLUDES up-front, without having to ask, information about where an insurer invests what WAS a person's health care money. This is an important Right To Know issue.
(One can, with great difficulty and need for expertise, find that info at the SEC's EDGAR Database...but it is grossly unreasonable to ask anyone to do this.)

* Compulsory Insurance is a likely violation of Constitutional protections against Compelled Speech...if one does not want to "speak" to a private insurer with the necessary words AND with the money.

* Compulsory Insurance may be also a violation of Privacy Rights in that such insurers would demand all sorts of personal information. To refuse to give them the information would result in legal penalties.

* Unlike with Auto Insurance compulsion where defenders say that "no one is compelled to drive", the only ways to opt out of Compulsory Health Insurance would be to a) leave the country, or b) commit suicide.

* In Very Non-Progressive manner, many insurance-linked health plans may be significantly funded by REGRESSIVE TAXES on PEOPLE using "sinful" products. No such burdens are placed, regressively or otherwise, on BUSINESSES that make even the most health-damaging products or create the most deadly pollutants.
See: http://fauxbacco.blogspot.com for info about industries responsible for the most inescapably deadly components of typical cigarettes....pesticides, radiation, chlorine, burn accelerants and on and on....all of this being INVESTMENT PROPERTY of "Health" insurance firms.

* Patients in health plans administered by, say, insurers that own tobacco pesticide investments, are Not Likely to EVER get an honest diagnosis because, to so indict pesticides (and chlorine) would be Very Harmful to Insurers's cigarette AND Pesticide stock holdings.

Private Insurance is BAD FOR HUMAN HEALTH across the board...the positive things that compromised health practioners do notwithstanding.
by Deb
Friday Jan 4th, 2008 2:39 PM
Keep plugging away at this issue. Its an important one for the US citizens.

Take the profit out of illness by eliminating the middle man. What medical expertise do insurance companies have anyway? Its senseless to pay their shareholders.

from a well Canadian

And if you don't believe Steven, you can always rent SICKO and see what Michael Moore has to say. Its kind of entertaining to watch but hits home with the facts (well, mostly). Actually Steven has better facts, Michael Moore is just fun to watch and the message reaches the audience without having to read all those numbers.
by Rachel
Friday Jan 4th, 2008 4:15 PM
I just wanted to show my support for what you've written. Good for you! I agree, but would never have the patience to sit down, research, and write what you have--citing sources and all!

I don't really have anything additional or intelligent to add/say on the matter, but I really agree with you.

As for my healthcare, I am a struggling artist...but I am VERY LUCKY. If it weren't for my folks, I wouldn't have insurance. I realize most people don't have this advantage. I have many physicians in my family, and from discussions, I believe they agree with you.
by Spirit Flame
Friday Jan 4th, 2008 4:50 PM
The problem I have with the current system is that insurance companies take premiums upfront, but are then motivated to not provide service since *any* service cuts into their profit margin. In addition, they are not interested in insuring someone like me who has a pre-existing, chronic condition since they know that I will cost a significant amount in the long run.
by Steven Argue
Friday Jan 4th, 2008 5:09 PM
Spirit Flame, I'm sorry to hear about how you are denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. Many other people are in the same boat. Michael Moore had good coverage of this in "Sicko". This is another major problem with the current system that either single payer or fully socialized medicine would fully resolve.
by Patrick Henry
Sunday Jan 6th, 2008 10:38 AM
1. Congrats on recognizing Hilary's plan sucks.

2. Socialism in medicine won't work.

Prices and demand are already very high. Supply is low.

You propose to increase the market and customer base, thus dramatically increasing demand.

You propose to remove all connection to reality for the consumer/patient. In other words, they will no longer have any financial consequence to their medical or personal decisions. This too will dramatically increase demand as people no longer have to pay for their treatment, or even pay for a copay or deductible. It will be "free" healthcare which people will consume as much of as they can.

You do not propose to increase supply.

In other words, you propose to double the market and double the demand, at a minimum. This will flood the market with demand, skyrocketing prices, and creating vast huge new sums of inefficiency, waste, and failure to treat those in need.

Your solution to our nation's healthcare problem is naive, uninformed, misguided, foolish, well intentioned, counter productive, and most dangerous. The fundamental economics I listed above show it is a very bad idea to have any sort of mandatory/government run health care in this country. That is the reality that can be seen by all who look. Many people will die if anyone and everyone can seek treatment for everything and anything. There will also have to be a considerable increase in theft by government to pay for it all. There will be a terrible decrease in the quality and availability of care.

I am sure you can say otherwise - but you won't be able to make a solid argument against the plain facts of the case. The movement towards government controlled healthcare is about thinking nice thoughts, not dealing with complex realities.

"The reason socialized insurance is much cheaper and more efficient than private health insurance is because single payer eliminates the health insurance racket with all of its waste in capitalist profits, paperwork, and overpaid CEOs. In addition, such insurance practices as routinely denying needed medical procedures to keep profits up are eliminated, thus reducing capitalism as being the cause of death."

The profit is why people are able to work in medicine and feed their children. What socialists consider to be evil profit other people consider to be good food, shelter, clothes, and other necessities of life. Anyone who believes replacing a private industry with government bureaucracy will lower the amount of paperwork involved is too naive to be involved in politics without endangering other people's lives. Overpaid CEO's are far less of a problem than a vastly overpaid government that takes the money I'd spend on healthcare and wastes, steals, or gives it away.

Government is the problem, not the solution. If you think this plan will work, why don't we all get the government to pay for mansions, servants, and whatever cars etc we all want? Or maybe they should just build a fountain of youth? Why not?
And let's address the inevitable arguments before they are spewed forth by the defenders of the crime that is US healthcare.

No, you can STILL pick your doctor

No, the quality and technology of medical care will not change

No, taxes do not have to be raised. The money spent on defense and other pork could easily pay for such a system.
by Patrick Henry
Sunday Jan 6th, 2008 1:31 PM
"And let's address the inevitable arguments before they are spewed forth by the defenders of the crime that is US healthcare."

I don't defend the current system, it has way too much government interference and corporatism and incompetence and waste etc to be defended.

"No, you can STILL pick your doctor"

Sure, just like you can still pick your medicine - oh wait, you can't unless the government gives you permission. Sure, just like you can still pick your food - oh wait, you can't unless the government gives you permission.

"No, the quality and technology of medical care will not change"

Really? And would you care to explain how greatly increasing the number of people receiving healthcare and incredibly, hugely, unimaginably increasing the demand for healthcare will allow the quality to remain the same when we are already beyond the breaking point of supply of medicine?

You won't, because you can't, because your solution is a fantasy. While in your mind it is as simple as saying everything will be fine, the reality is far more complex and brutal. WHERE WILL THE DOCTORS COME FROM? WHERE WILL THE NURSES COME FROM? WHERE WILL THE EMERGENCY ROOMS COME FROM? WHERE WILL THE HOSPITALS COME FROM? WHERE WILL THE MONEY COME FROM? HOW DO YOU PROPOSE TO TREAT MANY MORE PEOPLE FOR MANY, MANY, MANY TIMES MORE PROBLEMS WITHOUT INCREASING THE SUPPLY OF MEDICINE? If our government can do that, why don't we have universal mansions?

"No, taxes do not have to be raised. The money spent on defense and other pork could easily pay for such a system."

No national health care plan endorsed by any political candidate that I have seen entails cutting spending at all. Moreover, if you calculate the amount of money necessary, that's not true. Universal healthcare in America will be the most expensive government program in all of history.
by STEVEN ARGUE
Sunday Jan 6th, 2008 2:57 PM
Patrick Henry claims, “No national health care plan endorsed by any political candidate that I have seen entails cutting spending at all. Moreover, if you calculate the amount of money necessary, that's not true. Universal healthcare in America will be the most expensive government program in all of history.”

Not true on several points. The McKinney campaign is one example:

On health care McKinney states, "I've supported every universal single payer health care plan. She goes on to state, “People who rail against `socialized medicine' in Canada and the UK have to explain why life expectancy is longer in Canada and the UK, why infant mortality is lower in Canada and the UK" (Deeth). McKinney further denounces the war in Iraq stating that the money being squandered could be better used on social programs such as rebuilding New Orleans, child nutrition, and health care, stating in part, “one billion dollars a day can provide medical care for the 47 million Americans who don’t have health insurance” (McKinney).
by Patrick Henry
Sunday Jan 6th, 2008 4:51 PM
"On health care McKinney states, "I've supported every universal single payer health care plan. She goes on to state, “People who rail against `socialized medicine' in Canada and the UK have to explain why life expectancy is longer in Canada and the UK, why infant mortality is lower in Canada and the UK" (Deeth). McKinney further denounces the war in Iraq stating that the money being squandered could be better used on social programs such as rebuilding New Orleans, child nutrition, and health care, stating in part, “one billion dollars a day can provide medical care for the 47 million Americans who don’t have health insurance” (McKinney)."

I would expect that life expectancy is greater in the U.K. and Canada for many reasons, one critical but always neglected part is that our federal government subsidizes cheap food and agribusiness, thus supporting the corn-industrial complex which sells junk-food as food and now, as whole foods and healthy foods, along with a tremendous amount of junk food that is sold as junk food.

The source you cite, McKinney, says that it will only cost 1 billion dollars a day to take care of the 47 million uninsured in medical treatment in this country. That's 365 billion a year. That's a cost of 7765 per covered person per year. However, under socialized medicine everyone is covered. If we use the figure quoted by McKinney times the population of the USA (300 million) we find that it will cost 2 329 500 000 000, or approximately the current federal budget. That doesn't include the increase in demand created by "free" healthcare which could easily double or triple or otherwise multiply that number. That number is about 20 percent of the GDP. According to a pro-universal health care outfit, that's the amount that would otherwise be reached by 2015. http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml . That's a significant difference that would be multiplied. An extra five, ten, or twenty percent out of peoples pockets will create mass impoverishment and widespread suffering.

The numbers don't work, based solely supply and demand. We are a nation of consumers now, not producers, so we have a lot less to loot to support this mad scheme. The current problems were created by the government, so you propose to dramatically multiply the role and scope of government in health care. I can not afford to pay for my own health care, so you propose I pay for everyone elses health care, and my health care will be paid by everyone else. The key part you omit from your understanding of this plan is that that everyone else can't afford their health care - so they won't be able to afford mine.

Government has again usurped the role of the monarchy - it's powers are those held in times past by those allegedly descended from gods. It is not possible to wave the magic wand of legislation and use the powers of government to take what it wants from people and force them to obey to achieve acts of good. To actually fix our medical system would require a miracle, a genuine miracle, i.e. divine intervention to set things right no matter how impossible the reality. A massive Jesus with the loaves of bread routine would be necessary to efficiently create a huge increase in supply of a wide variety of expensive pieces of infrastructure and equipment and skilled labor needed to treat everyone in the country for all of their medical problems. That's not possible in reality. It would also take another miracle to keep the corruption and incompetence and waste down to the point where the cost would be comparable to other countries. That too is not possible if the program is inherently corrupt by being completely contrary to the American principles of law and liberty.

The government doesn't have the ability to work miracles. It can't change reality. It is very easy to propose solutions. There is a great saying, "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference". The magic wand of government has been aimed at poverty, drugs, terrorism, food, education, and many other areas of our lives, and in each case, it has made new problems without solving the old problems.

The unfortunate reality is that life sucks in many ways. There isn't enough of everything for everyone. People get sick. People die. People get sick and die when they could have been saved. I agree we should try something new, but more of the same isn't the solution. I believe in time you will see your dream granted, and then you will see that it is a nightmare you have created. Our society is already falling apart, you wish to accelerate it. I shudder at the thought of the consequences to what we call medicine in this country under any such plan of federal government controlled health care. It will guarantee America becoming a Third World nation.
by James
Monday Jan 7th, 2008 12:20 AM
Deb lives in Canada, and I live in Canada, too. For those of you who have never been to Canada, it is virtually identical to the United States in many ways, with the notable exception of Nationalized health care. The concept of nationalized health care was introduced to Canada by Tommy Douglas, who was recently voted as 'The Greatest Canadian' in a national survey. Tommy Douglas is the father of Hollywood actor Donald Sutherland, and the grandfather of Kiefer Sutherland.

Health care is something that people in Canada just take for granted, like electricity or indoor plumbing. Whenever medical care is needed, it is simply available to you at no cost. Any surgical procedure, and doctor's visits are covered by the national health care plan. Some medications are available for free, but there are others you have to pay for. However, there are generic versions of these drugs which are a tenth of the cost of the 'name brand' version of the same thing.

Nationalized health care in Canada has worked for decades without a hitch. There is no mystery how this program works. Instead of a Private insurance company funding a medical procedure, the provincial government (State government) takes the necessary funds as well as the responsibilities.

These 'doom and gloom' stories about the catastrophic events which will occur if Nationalized health care is implemented are sheer fantasy and nonsense based on right-wing 'free market' ideology. Remember that these are the same people who warned about the 'weapons of mass destruction' in Iraq. They are fearmongers. There are no facts to back up their assertions.

Why is it that Nationalized health care works in almost every country in the industrialized world, yet the United States is the sole exception where it would fail miserably? Why wouldn't it be possible for the United States to simply pick a country where the nationalized health care system is working, then transport it and replicate it in their own country?
by Dutchess
Monday Jan 7th, 2008 8:30 AM
The money that's been spent for the last 6 years for the wars in Afghanistan & Iraq could easily pay for universal health care. I guess war is more profitable than the health of people. Every year Bush has asked for ~$86B for his wars and where has it gotten us? Nowwhere.
by Patrick Henry
Monday Jan 7th, 2008 10:35 AM
"Deb lives in Canada, and I live in Canada, too. For those of you who have never been to Canada, it is virtually identical to the United States in many ways, with the notable exception of Nationalized health care. The concept of nationalized health care was introduced to Canada by Tommy Douglas, who was recently voted as 'The Greatest Canadian' in a national survey. Tommy Douglas is the father of Hollywood actor Donald Sutherland, and the grandfather of Kiefer Sutherland."

There are a great many differences other than health care between Canada and America. Too many to even begin to mention.

"Health care is something that people in Canada just take for granted, like electricity or indoor plumbing. Whenever medical care is needed, it is simply available to you at no cost. Any surgical procedure, and doctor's visits are covered by the national health care plan. Some medications are available for free, but there are others you have to pay for. However, there are generic versions of these drugs which are a tenth of the cost of the 'name brand' version of the same thing."

Nothing is available for free. When you say some medications are free, you mean that the government uses the threat of violence to force other people to pay for the medication you are unable or unwilling to pay for. Stealing doesn't make something free. Having someone else foot the bill doesn't make it free. Taking from another only makes it wrong.

"Nationalized health care in Canada has worked for decades without a hitch. There is no mystery how this program works. Instead of a Private insurance company funding a medical procedure, the provincial government (State government) takes the necessary funds as well as the responsibilities."

What's the average wait time for surgery in Canada versus America? I've read up on Canada's programs, it is far from perfect. The picture you are painting is one of perfection. There are plenty of hitches and catches with that program.

"These 'doom and gloom' stories about the catastrophic events which will occur if Nationalized health care is implemented are sheer fantasy and nonsense based on right-wing 'free market' ideology. Remember that these are the same people who warned about the 'weapons of mass destruction' in Iraq. They are fearmongers. There are no facts to back up their assertions."

I never warned about the WMD in Iraq, quite the opposite. Nice ad hominum attack and vast oversimplification and stereotyping people into a group though.

The facts that back up my argument is very simple - multiple the predicted cost per citizen (pick your favorite socialist politician) times the population of the country. Or take the current system and imagine multiplying the problems, i.e. ER wait time, by twenty percent or more. Or take the current cost of medical procedures and supplies and multiply them by twenty percent more. Simply calculate crudely the consequences of what you propose and it is immediately clear that you favor increasing the expense, inefficiency, waste, and difficulty of getting health care in this country. Then there is the cost of medical supplies and procedures, far less than here. And again, it doesn't work.

"Why is it that Nationalized health care works in almost every country in the industrialized world, yet the United States is the sole exception where it would fail miserably? Why wouldn't it be possible for the United States to simply pick a country where the nationalized health care system is working, then transport it and replicate it in their own country?"

It doesn't work that well in other countries to start with. Then there is the fact that those nations are socialist or have other forms of government where socialized medicine isn't an illegal affront to the country's fundamental principles and rule of law. Then there is the fact that those nations have very different medical systems, usually not nearly so advanced. Then there is that they don't have the same levels of corruption and incompetence that our nation does.

My house has heat, food, running water. Why can't the rest of the world which is starving simply pick my house where life is working well, and then transport it and replicate it in their own country? Why don't the starving people in Africa just do as I do?

Cuz life ain't that simple. Shucks, if many people around the world got a car like mine to go to work, they would spend their kids food money on the gasoline and their children would die. How about we start another feel good movement, a car to every impoverished family? Doesn't that sound great? The starving will have cars! and laptops! And since I can't afford to give away my car, why don't we just make the government pass a law mandating it? Then we can solve all the problems of the world!

Wake up, naive well intentioned Americans, before you eat us all alive! You propose to put the nation's health care system into the same very hands of those responsible for such wonderful successes of government largess such as the War on Terror...and the War on Drugs...and the War on Poverty. This War on Health-care will also fail while making the problems worse and introducing many new problems. Have you ever considered the wisdom of putting the power to make the decisions regarding our medicine and health to the same people who have no compunction about bombing children throughout the world?

Apparently not, for in the socialist realm, feelings matter infinitely more than reality. Does it matter that people can't depend on Social Security in their retirement as planned? Nope, another huge government program will work this time. Does it matter that every other major federal government program is a failure? Nope.

What does matter to y'all? Fantasy. Daydreams. Warm fuzzy feelings. Definitely not the brutal reality that will occur when fine folks like Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, and Hilary Clinton decide whether you get to see a doctor or not. Definitely not the suffering that will occur when future Congresses debate the budget and how to best balance between war and healthcare. Definitely not the reality - only the fantasy of using power for good.

Keep dreaming, and one day you will see that thousands have died because of what you believe in.
by Patrick Henry
Monday Jan 7th, 2008 10:51 AM
If we have ten people, and they all want cars, and eight out of the ten can afford cars, and each of those eight has a car, and the government passes a law saying everyone gets a car

who pays for the extra cars?

and where do those extra cars come from when there were only eight cars?

That is exactly what is being proposed, the government shall wave it's wand, and supply shall grow to meet demand.

In reality, the only way to do it is to take pieces from other peoples cars, and then force them to pay for a mechanic to hobble them into new cars. This will impoverish the 8 people and leave them with cars in varying states of disrepair. The other two will finally have cars, albeit poorly built soon to break cars. Then the mechanic will make a fortune keeping these cars running. Of course, that will really bankrupt everyone. So the government can wave it's wand and remove the profit factor, that horrible horrible profit factor you all fear so much, and so then the mechanic will retire. Then the cars will break, and no one will have a car.

That is EXACTLY what you are proposing. You are proposing taking a finite resource that is already greatly dwarfed by demand and giving it to all in need. The other factor I did omit in this analogy is that suddenly those who wish to have a car may demand more than one car.

Our medical care system is already stretched to the breaking point, so you propose not to add a single piece of straw to the camel's back, but instead several full bales of hay.

To add another piece to the analogy above, the government would also fire the mechanics secretary to eliminate all of that unnecessary paperwork. Of course, the mechanic needs paperwork to do his job, so the government would hire a secretary. Then, to cut costs because the carowners are going broke, the secretary will be put in charge of deciding which car gets what work in which order. That will only further stress the mechanic and lead to the cars being very broken.

So again, where will the new cars (medicine, doctors, nurses, hospitals) come from? Where will the money come from?
by Synnöve
Monday Jan 7th, 2008 11:50 AM
In Europe we have a public health service and if in your country you haven't a public health it's a good thing to figth for.
by db
Monday Jan 7th, 2008 12:07 PM
I am an American citizen but live in a foreign country that has health insurance for everyone. I think it is a great thing for a government to do for it's people and it does work. It is just a standard coverage that you pay for according to your salary and people with money can buy extra coverage from insurance company's.

It just seems to me that beside the paranoia concern that most stuck-up American's just don't want their taxes going to help the poor.

As far as income taxes though, it has been revealed that all of income taxes go directly to pay off the interest of the federal reserve hypocrisy, not towards a new health care nor the war.

I would surely like to live in a country that actually viewed themselves with a government for their people and did give standard health care to all, along with a meaningful education and some mandatory given holiday time(grouped together) so a human being can actually enjoy their life.
by Patrick Henry
Tuesday Jan 8th, 2008 1:53 PM
"A Basic Human Right"

Not true. All human rights belong to each individual human being. The three human rights are life, liberty, and property. Medicine involves two or more people, no right can be claimed to another's life, liberty, and property.

I can not afford health care. I do not have a right to use a gun or the threat of force to make a doctor or nurse treat me with medical supplies I didn't buy. That's called stealing. No one has such a right. Since no individual has such a right, no collection of individuals has such a right, and no power to protect this non-existent right may be delegated to any government for such a purpose.

It's not right to steal medicine, it's not right to use the government to steal medicine.
"I am an American citizen but live in a foreign country that has health insurance for everyone. I think it is a great thing for a government to do for it's people and it does work. It is just a standard coverage that you pay for according to your salary and people with money can buy extra coverage from insurance company's."

Judging from the reports from Canada and the UK, it doesn't work. According to a recent story about a woman with cancer in the UK, she wasn't allowed to purchase the best available medicine that wasn't covered by the national health care program unless she didn't want any coverage at all. It is the extraordinarily well documented nature of our federal government to make any and every program impossibly convoluted and complex, so it shall be with health care.

"It just seems to me that beside the paranoia concern that most stuck-up American's just don't want their taxes going to help the poor."

I'm one of those poor you propose to tax more. Since I can't afford my own health care you want me to pay for other people's health care. I also can't afford a mansion. Shall we have a program to give mansions to the poor so that I can add in another untenable tax bill to further impoverish myself to sooth your mind of any worry about the homeless?

"As far as income taxes though, it has been revealed that all of income taxes go directly to pay off the interest of the federal reserve hypocrisy, not towards a new health care nor the war."

Debatable, depends on your source. The war is similar to what you propose - a massive federal government spending program that subsidizes incompetent and corrupt corporations in the name of the "greater good".

"I would surely like to live in a country that actually viewed themselves with a government for their people and did give standard health care to all, along with a meaningful education and some mandatory given holiday time(grouped together) so a human being can actually enjoy their life."

So you wish to live in a country where the government tells you how to live? I have trouble fathoming how one could consider that to be enjoyable.

I would like in a country where I get to decide how I live.
by Joe
Tuesday Jan 8th, 2008 7:42 PM
Having little kids pose with signs is cute but they don't have clue as to what they are doing. My mother's sister lived in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario and she dropped dead in her living room 3 months into a wait for a heart operation. If you think Canadian healthcare is that good just check out http://www.freemarketcure.com and watch the 4 short you tube style videos about their system.

I also don't know one doctor that wants it. They've all told me they would rather quit than be under a Canadian style system.

We just need to mandate everyone buy coverage that can afford to. No more opting out. If your employer doesn't offer it, and you can't qualify for an individual policy then you pay into the government run plan. Everybody plays, everybody pays.

You've eliminated all the bad debt, and everybody's covered. Rates should come down as well.
If Obama had his way with single payer, you wouldn't be able to opt out of that, but why let the government take total control and screw it up totally?
by cDub
Wednesday Jan 9th, 2008 7:18 AM
Good thing that kind of thing never happens here...lol.

I love how opponents of single-payer ignore that EVERY OTHER RICH INDUSTRIAL NATION has it - and focus on the one horror story they can dredge up.

The numbers are COMPLETELY CONCLUSIVE. Other than keeping HMOs and Pharmaceutal companany CEOs rich, theres NO REASON that we don't cut HMOs out and move to single-payer.
by yep
Wednesday Jan 9th, 2008 7:33 AM
One often hears "horror" stories about some rich person in a country with government run health care system who had to wait too long for a major operation and the message gieven with these cases by the US right is that this shows that such systems have flaws that don't exist in the US system. I am guessing that those who give the examples are usually people who are not personally horrfied but have some example they have looked up and are opposed for purely ideological reasons since one would assume that the same people would be horrified by the FACT that similar cases are much more common in the US. When a right-winger go into a convenience store and there is a donate box so some kid can get a transplant does it occur to them that the message from the donation box is that the health system not only is making the kid wait but will not even peform the opearation unless the parents go around begging for funds? I guess they could see it as a voluntary form of taxation but if so it is one that funds cute kids at higher rates than ones the public doesn't find cute and rewards parents who have connections to organize a fundraising drive over those who would have a hard time doing so.

I have several friends who have died in the past year and in both cases a better health-care system could have helped since preventive care and good mental health care are pretty much impossible for those without money (even for those with standard insurance plans).

And for those with money who go around claiming the US system is great it only takes a medical emergency (even with supposedly good insurance) to realize that the US system is broken. Just look at Glen Beck, a right-wing radio host who touted the US system over Canada and then ended up lashing out at everyone when he had to get surgery and realized the sad state of the US system:
http://www.healthylivingtalk.com/glenn-beck-botched-surgery-points-to-state-of-healthcare-in-america/
by Steven Argue
Wednesday Jan 9th, 2008 7:34 AM
As Cdub said, the numbers are completely conclusive. Behind the shorter life expectancy in the United States is the suffering and deaths of countless millions.

But the rightwing "free market" people do like their horror stories, so let’s not disappoint. Here is a girl murdered by her insurance company a couple weeks ago in their pursuit of profit:

The California Nurses Association/NNOC statement about the death of Nataline Sarkisyan
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/01/03/18469846.php
I'm one of those 50,000,000 without any health or dental or any other kind. Self employed little shop and barely making a living with all the slave labor-made crap flooding into this country from dictatorships all over the world. I don't make enough to get the lousy ripoff insurance.

Summer of '06 I had a kidney stone, $2,500 for sitting on a table in a nightgown for five hours, a cat scan (yep, it's a kidney stone all right), and an iv to re-hydrate because I couldn't drink liquids for the ten hours before I finally had a neighbor take me in. I've got a 90% chance of another one in the next five years according to the doctors.

I cracked off a crown a few weeks ago. Can't afford to do anything about it and there isn't enough tooth left to reattach it anyway. It needs oral surgery to get what's left of the root out. And I have three more that are either loose or decaying underneath according to the dentist. It's been about 12 years since I had them done (had a decent income then) but they only are supposed to last about 10 years. I now have a hole in my smile so I don't smile anymore. Too bad for me.

Hey, this is 'merka. Best damn health care in the world. Well, maybe not but we can eradicate all life on the planet with our nuclear bombs about 20 times over. That counts for something, yeah?

Next time something really bad goes wrong I have no idea what I'll do. Scary, isn't it?
by Patrick Henry
Wednesday Jan 9th, 2008 1:05 PM
"The numbers are COMPLETELY CONCLUSIVE. Other than keeping HMOs and Pharmaceutal companany CEOs rich, theres NO REASON that we don't cut HMOs out and move to single-payer."

Here's the top ten reasons off the top of my head:

1. It's illegal. It would require a constitutional amendment to be legal. That isn't going to happen, and no one is proposing it happens.
2. It's theft, theft of the entire healthcare system, by the armed government.
3. It is tyranny, the usurpation of power by government.
4. It's anti-freedom, it will deprive people of their inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property.
5. It's far more expensive. Compare public education versus private - the former spends 9,000 a year per student, many Catholic schools provide a much better education for 1000 a year.
6. It will greatly reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system, by exploding the demand and reducing the supply.
7. It will be 1000 times more complex than the current mess. It's bad enough needing to read thousands of pages of BS and BS technical jargon to figure out an approximation of the income tax allegedly owed, it will be far worse to have to read thousands of pages to get your broken leg fixed.
8. It will bankrupt America, destroying our government and our country.
9. It will further the rise of socialism/communism/fascism/totalarianism, furthering the enslavement of America by the government.
10. Many people will die and many many more will suffer.
by Patrick Henry
Wednesday Jan 9th, 2008 1:08 PM
"One often hears "horror" stories about some rich person in a country with government run health care system who had to wait too long for a major operation and the message gieven with these cases by the US right is that this shows that such systems have flaws that don't exist in the US system. I am guessing that those who give the examples are usually people who are not personally horrfied but have some example they have looked up and are opposed for purely ideological reasons since one would assume that the same people would be horrified by the FACT that similar cases are much more common in the US. When a right-winger go into a convenience store and there is a donate box so some kid can get a transplant does it occur to them that the message from the donation box is that the health system not only is making the kid wait but will not even peform the opearation unless the parents go around begging for funds? I guess they could see it as a voluntary form of taxation but if so it is one that funds cute kids at higher rates than ones the public doesn't find cute and rewards parents who have connections to organize a fundraising drive over those who would have a hard time doing so."

Life sucks. People get sick, people die. That's part of life.

The health care system wasn't broke 100 years ago before the government got involved. It is broken now. Study the history of how it became broken and you will see it was caused by government intervention. Your "solution" is to multiple the cause of the problem. BAD idea.
by Patrick Henry
Wednesday Jan 9th, 2008 1:14 PM
"But the rightwing "free market" people do like their horror stories, so let’s not disappoint. Here is a girl murdered by her insurance company a couple weeks ago in their pursuit of profit:"

Actually, if you read up on this case, the girl died from cancer. The insurance company didn't murder her, she died from one of the leading causes of death.

The insurance companies profits depends on satisfying their customers. If they deny appropriate medical treatment, then they lose customers and they lose profit. It would be very bad business for them to deny appropriate medical treatment.

You propose to put a government bureaucrat in charge of making the exact same decision. This bureaucrat will have no reason to provide appropriate medical treatment. If the customers don't like the service, they can't go elsewhere. If the customers die, there is no consequence. It removes any connection to success or failure. There are no consequences. An insurance company that denies 100% of all treatment will shortly go out of business. A government that does the same will still be in business thanks to a monopoly enforced at gunpoint.

Profit is the reason why people try to save lives. That "profit" considered to be so evil pays for people's food, clothes, shelter, lives. You propose to remove the means of life from those who provide medical services. That means they will stop providing medical services. Brilliant!
by Patrick Henry
Wednesday Jan 9th, 2008 1:17 PM
"Next time something really bad goes wrong I have no idea what I'll do. Scary, isn't it?"

I'm in the same boat. I have no health insurance, can't afford health care, but I still need it.

I am not asking or demanding others pay my way. I am working hard to pay my own way.

I am definitely not suggest that we use the government to put a gun to people's heads to make them pay for my health care.

You are.

What's scarier, individuals suffering or dying from being human, or large armed forces robbing the masses? People always have and always will get sick and die, and it always has been and always will be that not everyone gets every possible treatment. That's life. Armed men robbing everyone of their life, liberty, and property for the "greater good"? That's death.
by Frederick Douglas
Wednesday Jan 9th, 2008 4:46 PM
My two cents.
by Steven Argue
Wednesday Jan 9th, 2008 5:33 PM
France is healthcare leader, US comes dead last: study
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/lf_afp/ushealthfrancemortality_080108191353

WASHINGTON (AFP) - France is tops, and the United States dead last, in providing timely and effective healthcare to its citizens, according to a survey Tuesday of preventable deaths in 19 industrialized countries.

The study by the Commonwealth Fund and published in the January/February issue of the journal Health Affairs measured developed countries' effectiveness at providing timely and effective healthcare.

The study, entitled "Measuring the Health of Nations: Updating an Earlier Analysis," was written by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It looked at death rates in subjects younger than 75 that could have been prevented by timely and effective medical care.

The researchers found that while most countries surveyed saw preventable deaths decline by an average of 16 percent, the United States saw only a four percent dip.

The non-profit Commonwealth Fund, which financed the study, expressed alarm at the findings.

"It is startling to see the US falling even farther behind on this crucial indicator of health system performance," said Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen, who noted that "other countries are reducing these preventable deaths more rapidly, yet spending far less."

The 19 countries, in order of best to worst, were: France, Japan, Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Some countries showed dramatic improvement in the periods studied -- 1997 and 1998 and again between 2002 and 2003 -- outpacing the United States, which showed only slight improvement.

White the United States ranked 15th of 19 between 1997-98, by 2002-03 it had fallen to last place.

"It is notable that all countries have improved substantially except the US," said Ellen Nolte, lead author of the study.

Had the United States performed as well as any of the top three industrialized countries, there would have been 101,000 fewer deaths per year, the researchers said.
by Patrick Henry
Thursday Jan 10th, 2008 12:11 PM
"Nice discission, if you ignore everything said by Patrick Henry"

Perhaps if you didn't ignore me and didn't accept anything you agree with as true and instead used your natural born ability to reason then you would come to some very different conclusions.

This government says it's cool to give large amounts of stimulants every day to American children for being children, locks up adults for doing the same drugs, imprisons cancer and AIDS patients for using the medicine that will save their life, and locks up doctors who prescribe pain medication for people in pain.

This is the same government that says it's cool to bomb foreign children to death or maim them horribly for life.

That is who you want to put in charge of YOUR and MY health.

Keep on ignoring me though, along with the consequences of your actions, and perhaps you will be lucky enough to have a quick death and not ever snap out of that deadly bliss you live in.
by matt
Thursday Jan 10th, 2008 12:35 PM
Another viewpoint: Why socialized medicine is bad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J19cwiPWONY (written by a Naturopathic MD)
by Ron
Friday Jan 18th, 2008 11:08 AM
But...

I support single payer and appreciated your health care comments.
by Heron
Sunday Jan 20th, 2008 2:11 PM
ok..Steven...with all this said..

what do you suggest ..we can do..to actually affect change..

something realistic..

cause..as much as I want..Kuchinich..that ain't happening..

we need some direction..

cause we can sit here and bitch all we want..but..our vote..counts..hmmm and that is questionable!

i am on my local democratic committee..actually I am the secretary..

and I am going to our state caucus..I have for the past 4 or 5 years..

I write letters to my representatives and senators..when asked to..

I sign a kazillion petitions..

I talk to the peope I know..the best I can..those that have open enough minds..to listen.. and even debate back..I love that..

sooooooooooooooooooo..but here we sit..

electing a new president.. we know what we want..for change..but..man oh man.. its an unsurmountable mountain from what I see..

soooooooooooo...guess we have to start with one step..

any ideas?

by STEVEN ARGUE
Sunday Jan 20th, 2008 2:40 PM
We have a hard struggle ahead, without easy answers. Short of a full change in the entire power structure, which I also advocate, the following is what I feel to be the realistic way to win this in the shorter term (as stated at the end of my article):

Ultimately, what is needed is the building of a spirit of resistance among workers, the unemployed, and students, where we no longer passively agree to politicians and union leaders who pretend to be lesser evils, but are rarely even that. We must challenge and change the organizations we are part of, and when that fails, break away and build new ones. Most importantly, we must fully resurrect the use of political strikes and demonstrations to force the bosses and government to give us what we need, as is often done in countries with socialized medicine such as France. It is this kind of resistance that won socialized healthcare in Europe after the Second World War, and it will be this that will bring socialized medicine to the United States.