But then an eager reader sends me The Commonwealth Fund's latest update on the pathetic performance of the American health care system, and I'm all riled up on health insurance again:
In 2007, health spending was $7,290 per person in the United States, more than double that of any other country in the survey.
Australians spent $3,357, Canadians $3,895, Germans $3,588, the Netherlands $3,837 and Britons spent $2,992 per capita on health in 2007. New Zealand spent the least at $2,454.
This is a big rise from the Fund's last similar survey, in 2007, which found Americans spent $6,697 per capita on healthcare in 2005, or 16 percent of gross domestic product.
"We rank last on safety and do poorly on several dimensions of quality," [Commonwealth Fund's Cathy] Schoen told reporters. "We do particularly poorly on going without care because of cost. And we also do surprisingly poorly on access to primary care and after-hours care" [Maggie Fox, "U.S. Scores Dead Last Again in Healthcare Study," Reuters, 2010.06.23].
This year's health insurance reform law be damned—we need real reform. We need a robust public option, if not a full-tilt single-payer system. We need government-run health coverage, like the systems in all the countries that kick our cans in cost control and health care performance. We need universal public insurance like the Medicare program that treats Grandma and Grandpa (and George McGovern!) so well.
We need to acknowledge that the American health coverage system is broken. We need to acknowledge that the status quo is inequitable and unaffordable. We need to acknowledge that this year's reform is a step in the right direction, but not enough to fix a system where medical debt plays a role in more than 60% of personal bankruptcies.
Medicare for everyone. It works in other countries. It'll work here.