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Truth About the Performance of Our Health Care System

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Bob Wilfong and others at Health Care Protest at Sen. Rounds' Rapid City Office on 7/6/17

 

 By: Bob Wilfong  

You will sometimes hear Republicans say we have the best health care in the world. Perhaps that's true if you are able to go to a top notch facility. The issue is not how well our best medical organizations perform but how well our health care system performs in the service of the entire population. And, by that measure, the performance of the U.S. health care system is last among developed nations. Our unregulated free market system has been failing us for decades. A July 2017 Commonwealth Fund study report titled "Mirror, Mirror 2017: International Comparison Reflects Flaws and Opportunities for Better U.S. Health Care" found the performance of the U.S. system was last when compared to 10 high income nations.

From Commonwealth Fund Study: Exhibit 2. Health Care System Performance Rankings

header

AUS

CAN

FRA

GER

NETH

NZ

NOR

SWE

SWIZ

UK

US

OVERALL RANKING

2

9

10

8

3

4

4

6

6

1

11

Care Process+

2

6

9

8

4

3

10

11

7

1

5

Access+

4

10

9

2

1

7

5

6

8

3

11

Administrative Efficiency+

1

6

11

6

9

2

4

5

8

3

10

Equity+

7

9

10

6

2

8

5

3

4

1

11

Health Care Outcomes+

1

9

5

8

6

7

3

2

4

10

11

Republican politicians dismiss what works in other countries as "socialized medicine" and that's not for us.  They seem to be saying socialism equals communism. However, the "dictionary.com" definition of socialized medicine accurately describes the health care systems of all developed countries as being government regulated. The tools of production (hospitals, doctors, etc.) are not necessarily in the hands of the government or a collective as required in the definitions of socialism and communism.

Another criticism leveled against socialized medicine is that healthcare is rationed in those countries. If Republicans really think our system doesn't ration health care they have most likely never been poor. Health care in the U.S. is considered a privilege and it's rationed by the size of your wallet. It's time we declare health care a right and join the ranks of those countries where people come before profits.

When Senator Thune says the GOP plan to take almost 800 billion out of Medicaid "makes Medicaid sustainable" you have to wonder if there is any limit to the punishment they will inflict on the working poor and destitute. That is one sad thing that sets our health care system apart from other high income countries. It's the lack of compassion and morality.  

 

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