The Norman Transcript

Columns

October 9, 2012

Dismal care outcomes, causes and cures

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Considering that so many nations achieve better health outcomes than we do and do it much more economically, almost all using government health care plans, why don’t we fully examine their systems’ successes and failures and create a system of health care that works for all U.S. citizens and not just those who can afford it or happen to be lucky enough to have an employer who provides economic, quality health care coverage for its employees, this latter becoming very rare in the U.S.?

I believe the answer to this can be found in an investigation of the tremendous amounts of money made in the current for-profit system and the sources and huge amounts spent in related political funding and in relevant public health opinion campaigns against reform. 

According to the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers, the major health insurance companies continue to make record profits and are paying tens of millions of dollars in bonuses to their CEOs. For example, Aetna reported first-quarter profits of $250 million. As a consequence, opposition to health care reform is well financed.

The nonprofit and non-partisan citizens’ group Opensecrets.org is the most comprehensive resource for federal campaign contributions, lobbying data and analysis available anywhere. They report that over a half a billion dollars are given or spent each election cycle by the combined health industry, in the form of political campaign donations and advertisements aversive to health care reform. 

These huge expenditures made by and on behalf of maintaining our present for-profit health system, have been hugely successful in facilitating the election of anti-health care reform politicians and resulted in a thoroughly misinformed public, concerning health care issues. The non-partisan and non-profit PolitiFact group has 35 webpages listing misinformation that is currently being propagated and circulated concerning health care reform.

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