Wednesday, May 13, 2009

National Healthcare Debate Heats Up!

This blog has been viewed from more than 30 countries, some with healthcare systems that reach all of their citizens and others, like the United States, that do not.

Recent posts in this blog -- on topics like electronic health records (EHR) and electronic medical records (EMR) -- have highlighted ways by which the delivery of healthcare might be improved. But, that improvement is of no value to an individual whose is denied needed healthcare services.

So, I'd like to pause for a look at the heated political debate that is currently being conducted on how the delivery of healthcare in the U.S. should be structured.

Montana's Senator Max Baucus pressed the case for universal health care during a congressional hearing last week, on May 5, saying that while the United States spends double what other countries pay for healthcare, the nation remains "the only developed country without health coverage for all of its citizens."

Excerpts (with commentary) from that hearing in the United States Senate Committee On Finance follow.

Additional commentary, from three groups of medical professionals, follows.

American Medical Association (Proposal for single-payer national health insurance)

California Nurses Association

Physicians for a National Health Program (Research papers)

The majority view in the United States holds that

(1) Pursuit of corporate profit and personal fortune have no place in caregiving. They create enormous waste and too often warp clinical decision making.

(2) In a democracy, the public should set health policies and budgets. Personal medical decisions must be made by patients with their caregivers, not by corporate or government bureaucrats.

However, as seen in the Senate Committee On Finance video, powerful groups oppose this view. Stay tuned!