Monday, August 3, 2009

Lying about health care

Many of the opponents to health care reform seem to require some health care themselves -- mental health.

Members of the "Tea Party," (whatever that really is) contend that Hitler and Stalin both instituted government-controlled health care, with disastrous results. Yes, the two dictators killed millions of their own, but not through health care.

Nazi Germany relied on an out of pocket system, unless the patient was born with certain "defects," in which case he might be euthanized to keep the gene pool clean. In the Soviet Union, everything was government run, at least officially.

Most Russian doctors were women, and were not well paid. The authorities dealt with subversives by putting them in "mental hospitals" where they were drugged into oblivion and otherwise rendered mad.

But Hitler and Stalin are not the point here. No politician is suggesting that the government should take over health care. This is unfortunate because a majority of Americans seem to prefer a single-payer government system, like Medicare or the Veterans Administration system.

Meanwhile, emergency departments are increasingly becoming primary care givers, which does no one any good, insurance companies only issue policies to young healthy people, which does most people no good, or they charge outrageous and unaffordable premiums.

What is true, is that the United States is the only industrialized country in the world without a national health care system.

That's what history will record.

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