Saturday, November 8, 2008

U.S Gap Between Rich and Poor Widening!

By Bob Kendall

October 31, 2008 "Information Clearinghouse" -- "PC" -- Now that the U.S.A. has discovered that only Mexico and Turkey had poverty rates higher than the 30-country study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, what if anything will be done to help the U.S. poor obtain health care?

Politicians, during campaigns, loudly proclaim "The U.S.A. is the greatest nation on earth and the richest."

With the largest, almost incomprehensible national debt in the world, exceeding all prior national debts combined since the U.S. was founded, recent political rants have avoided claiming the U.S.A. to be the richest nation in the world! However, the persistent claim to greatness has been much used in the current election campaigns (rest assured).

Mary Reynolds-Gilmore of Northport, N.Y. in her October 24 Letter to the Editors of the New York Times hit the problem of U.S. health care precisely, stating:

"The problem is cost and access. We will never be first until all Americans have basic health care, health and malpractice executives stop pocketing such a high percentage of our premiums, and we institute a system of medical-specialist juries to control the malpractice frenzy. More money for evidence-based research is not the answer."

Stanley R. Bermann of Santa Fe, New Mexico had this to say in his letter of the same day to the Times:

"What needs to happen is that we have a universal health care program for all Americans. Nothing else will do!

"No American should have to suffer medically and then suffer financially."

Bruce Leff of Baltimore, also writing the same day in the Times, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. He explains succinctly:

"The evidence base for most interventions in medicine is lacking, especially so in the area of how to deliver quality care to the most costly patients, the elderly with multiple chronic conditions.

"Improvements in the evidence will be ineffective if they come in the absence of health care payment reform that obliterates the perverse incentives that favor specialty care and glitzy idolatry over diligent primary care and care coordination.

"A vast overhaul of medical education must be aligned with any reforms to achieve success."

This professor's opinion reflects a recent survey of students entering the schools of medicine at U.S. universities, where only 2% wanted to become primary care physicians. The reason? Because the specialty fields of medicine pay much more.

John McCain's much vaunted health care plan is almost amusing if it wasn't so absurd. The Republican health care plan allows a $5,000 tax consideration for health insurance. With almost all health insurance policies $12,000 top $15,000 a year, that doesn't help very much. But even worse is the accompanying nonsense of having to pay taxes on any health insurance coverage supplied by one's place of employment.

After hearing for years the boast about the U.S.A. being the richest nation in the world, possibly the recent survey of 30 nations by the Economic Cooperation and Development study, placing the U.S. above only Mexico and Turkey will bring us down to earth.

Arnold S. Cohen, president of Partnership for the Homeless in New York City in his October 23 letter to the Times touches base with reality:

"During these fragile and uncertain economic times, we'll certainly be seeing thousands upon thousands more people teetering on the precipice, falling into homelessness.

"Just think back to the days of the 2001 economic slump when homelessness in New York City dramatically increased.

"By the fall of 2003, more than 16,000 children were living in homeless shelters.

"The shrinking economy will undoubtedly mean less public financing for critical services and fewer jobs for our neighbors in need. But deep budget cuts -- which may appear on their face prudent -- have historically proved to be fiscally unwise.

"It only manages to push people further into poverty and homelessness, costing taxpayers millions more."

While 45 million Americans lack health care coverage, this Republican-led administration goes on spending $10 billion a month in Iraq. Meanwhile on the business front, U.S. CEO's have the highest salaries in the world!