By Meddogs  7/31/07

The passion of John Edwards was admirable, during the CNN/YouTube  Democratic Presidential debates, when he spoke of the 51 year old man from West Virginia who, one  year earlier at the age of 50, had finally had corrective surgery for his congenital cleft palette.  Prior to this repair, the man had been unable to speak.  Wow!  Fifty years waiting for corrective surgery to enable speech.  That sounds like some kind of rationing to me.

We can recall George H. W. Bush, the venerable Poppy, dissing National Universal Care, because there  “will be waiting lines”.  He also spoke disparagingly re rationing of care.  We wonder if Poppy ever saw a 50 year waiting line or thought about “never gonna happen cuz you ain’t  got no money” rationing.

Sorry to disappoint Poppy,  but we got lines and we  got rationing in the good old US of A.  But, like our healthcare, it too  is “privatized”.  That means it is private and no one gets to know about it unless  someone (usually from the rejection line)  has the moxie to call the somewhat functional main stream media and try to kick up a public  fuss.  Even if they do it is usually suppressed pretty quickly. Pretty quickly that is unless there is a violent death involved from maybe, oh I don’t know, maybe a distraught patient kicked off Medicaid shooting folks up with an Uzi from a rooftop somewhere.  But, after an initial flurry, that too is suppressed and no one ever discusses the causes of the Uzi attack which happened to be NO Medicaid, therefore, no medical oversight. This could be called “privatized rationing”. 

Nations with real national health care plans have public accountability.  The Physicians for National Health Program, foremost experts on Healthcare Reform, say it as follows:

The U.S. Supreme Court recently established that rationing is fundamental to the way managed care conducts business. Rationing in U.S. health care is based on income: if you can afford care you get it, if you can’t, you don’t. A recent study by the prestigious Institute of Medicine found that 18,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have health insurance. That’s rationing. No other industrialized nation rations health care to the degree that the U.S. does.

If there is this much rationing why don’t we hear about it? And if other countries do not ration the way we do, why do we hear about them? The answer is that their systems are publicly accountable and ours is not. Problems with their health care systems are aired in public, ours are not. In U.S. health care no one is ultimately accountable for how it works. No one takes full responsibility.