I’m struck by the abject provincialism expressed by elected officials so adamantly opposed to single-payer health care. It’s as if we, as Americans, have nothing to learn from viable health care systems in place in virtually every other Western nation.  

Take for example this blurb today from Rep. Bauchus (D-MT):

Sanders: Baucus, Dems Not Open To Single-Payer “In A Million Years”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has taken a leading role in health care reform efforts in the Senate this year, dedicating a series of hearings to it and, in doing so, becoming one of the more prominent health care figures in Congress.

Today, one of the Senate’s most liberal members said Baucus specifically, as well as other Democrats in the Senate, wouldn’t be open to a single-payer plan “in a million years.” While President Obama’s reform efforts are unlikely to result in a single-payer system, supporters of a stronger public option (not to mention die-hard backers of a single-payer plan) could take Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) comment as a bad sign of what one of the Senate’s health care leaders is willing to entertain.

As I said yesterday in the West County Dems meeting, if we let this opportunity slip away for real health care reform, we may not have the opportunity to visit the issue again for a long time. It’s simple economic math why big-pharma and insurance conglomerates are fighting this; they’re fighting for market share and profits that they feel are threatened by health care reform. But we have to face the music here – for there to be real reform the largesse and cronyism must be dealt with head on. The sooner we see this writing on the wall the better.

A look at 5 other Western national health care from systems PBS Frontline:

United Kingdom

Percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent on health care: 8.3

Average family premium: None; funded by taxation.

Co-payments: None for most services; some co-pays for dental care, eyeglasses and 5 percent of prescriptions. Young people and the elderly are exempt from all drug co-pays.

Japan

Percentage of GDP spent on health care: 8

Average family premium: $280 per month, with employers paying more than half.

Co-payments: 30 percent of the cost of a procedure, but the total amount paid in a month is capped according to income.

Germany

Percentage of GDP spent on health care: 10.7

Average family premium: $750 per month; premiums are pegged to patients’ income.

Co-payments: 10 euros ($15) every three months; some patients, like pregnant women, are exempt.

Taiwan

An interview with an expert on Taiwan’s system +Percentage GDP spent on health care: 6.3

Average family premium: $650 per year for a family for four.

Co-payments: 20 percent of the cost of drugs, up to $6.50; up to $7 for outpatient care; $1.80 for dental and traditional Chinese medicine. There are exemptions for major diseases, childbirth, preventive services, and for the poor, veterans, and children.

Switzerland

An interview with an expert on Switzerland’s system +Percentage of GDP spent on health care: 11.6

Average monthly family premium: $750, paid entirely by consumers; there are government subsidies for low-income citizens.

Co-payments: 10 percent of the cost of services, up to $420 per year.

The forces arrayed to block real reform — big pharma, medical and insurance — are spending gobs of cash to perpetuate the denial of service to Americans.

In Bill Moyer’s recent expose he states:

“…the industry is pouring big money into lobbying, more than half a billion dollars last year alone, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. They’re also shelling out megabucks for a publicity blitz and ads attacking Obama’s public plan or any health care reform that threatens to reduce the profits from sickness and disease.”

Profiteering off the pain and suffering of others has created a self-destructive economic culture in America, it has broken our banking system, manufacturing, etc.

Time to get our voices heard before the health care denial of service continues to bleed out the suffering families all across America.