To the editor:
Rep. Tiahrt’s claim that we have the best health care system in the world and expanding the federal role in it would ruin it (Journal-World, Aug. 14) needs examination.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development tabulates data from 30 countries. Health indicators for the United States are: We come in 24th in life expectancy, have the sixth-highest incidence of low birthweight for newborns, are first for obesity and first for severe psychological problems, with almost half experiencing some form of mental illness during their lifetime. Americans mostly claim to be healthy and happy, but data would indicate otherwise.
We pay more for less. We cover about 80 percent of our population, with limited coverage on millions more, but pay 17 percent of our GDP for health care. According to the National Coalition on Health Care, most industrialized nations pay about 9.6 percent with 100 percent coverage.
Currently, polarizing political harpies tout “death panels” and other distracting fantasies regarding health care choices. Others disregard civil behavior (politeness and decent respect) for rudeness.
May I suggest we focus on what we need? Do we want 100 percent coverage? If not, who should be excluded? Do we want to contain health care costs? What administrative structure will best achieve this? What are our cost goals? Should we look at a single-payer system for possible options?
It is obvious that name-calling (“Socialist!”) is not going to improve health care delivery or costs. Hard work examining lots of data and making compromises is needed instead.