Funny and Serious about Health Care

andy-borowitz_120x120Andy Borowitz scores again with his satire, “Millions Flee Obamacare,” in the online edition of The New Yorker, here.  Almost equally good is his prequel, “Boehner Advises Americans to Delay Getting Cancer for a Year,” here.   Borowitz’s humor highlights the cynicism and contempt behind the right-wing Republican attack on Obamacare.

These attacks are particularly ironic since Obamacare is basically a Republican program, modeled on Mitt Romney’s program in Massachusetts.  The GOP has let itself get hijacked so far to the right that it’s disinheriting the only popular and functional program it’s conceived of in the past 50 years.

The main reason to support Obamacare is that it might be a step toward finally dumping the private insurance/medical/industrial complex that grows filthy rich by doing a bad job taking care of Americans’ illnesses and injuries.  That, of course, is the Republicans’ real fear.

For a more rational perspective on the health care mess, this column by Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in favor of a single-payer system puts the case well.  He begins:

Americans spend about twice as much per capita on healthcare as almost any other developed nation, but our outcomes are not as good as others that spend much less. We can do better. We must do better.

Today, some 50 million Americans lack health insurance. Many others delay going to the doctor because of high deductibles and unaffordable copayments. While the number of uninsured Americans will go down with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, widely known as ObamaCare, tens of millions of Americans will remain uninsured.

The goal of an effective healthcare system is to do everything possible to enable people to live long and healthy lives. Sadly, the American system fails to do that and falls behind many other countries. While we devote 18 percent of our gross domestic product to healthcare, we rank 33rd in life expectancy and 34th in infant mortality, and trail in many other health outcomes. A Harvard University study indicated that, incredibly, some 45,000 Americans die needlessly each year because they do not get to a doctor in time.


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