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With the release of Sicko and the expected barrage of trash aimed at Democratic candidates from right wing radio, it's inevitable that someone will accost you. (After all, that "I'm a Progressive" tatoo on your forehead stands out.)

"Why should I pay for someone else's health care? I'm paying enough already!"

The major candidates have done an incredibly poor job of articulating what the savings would be to our society that universal healthcare would achieve. So I guess it's up to you.

Get ready to answer: "Yes, you are! You are paying way too much. Universal health care will save you, personally, a bundle."

When you are sitting in church or the movie theater, look to your right and your left, ahead and back. Chances are that one of those people is paying health roulette. When they get really, really sick they go to an emergency room--and you pay.

This issue update from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that uninsured Americans could incur nearly $41 billion in uncompensated health care treatment in 2004, with federal, state and local governments paying as much as 85 percent of the care. It also finds that if the country provided coverage to all the uninsured, the cost of additional medical care provided to the newly insured would be $48 billion.

So if you just skim the headline, you might mistakenly think you are saving 7 billion by not covering the uninsured. Guess again! By waiting until health care is critical, the cost of healing the uninsured is many times the cost of insuring--and caring for--them in advance. Just remember the case of Deamonte Driver.

Deamonte Driver's life could have been spared if his infected tooth was simply removed -- a procedure costing just $80...
In the end, Driver endured two surgeries and weeks of hospital care totaling about $250,000 in medical bills. Sadly, it was too late to save the boy, and he passed away on Feb. 25.

According to the National Academy of Science, neglect due to lack of health insurance leads to developmental delays in tens of thousands of children each year. They end up in special education, costing school districts many times what general education would cost.

Look at your property tax bill. Highlight the school tax (in most states.) You are paying for the child down the block, who doesn't have health insurance. And you'll continue to pay, for his/her entire life, due to lower productivity.

And then, of course, there is the economy. Every time someone stays home sick, our nation loses productivity.

The value of what the United States loses because of the poorer health and earlier death experienced by the 41 million Americans who lack health insurance is estimated to be $65 billion to $130 billion every year, according to a first-ever economic analysis of the costs of uninsurance for society overall. This lost value is a hidden cost that could be recouped by extending health coverage to all, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

So we can attribute at least part of the decline of the dollar to our loss of productivity of our unhealthy society.

And this is the area where you can draw a bright red line between the plans for extending private insurance and single payer health insurance. The way in which a single payer plan would decide what to pay is completely different than a private system. Let me give the single example I know best--paraplegia. Private insurers calculate the cost of maintenance--six months of physical therapy, to insure that the para can get in and out of a chair, a new chair every five years. WD-40 and you're done. Single payer plans (like those in Europe) ask: "What more could you do if we paid for X?" Then they pay. There are hundreds of other conditions where the calculation is the same--obligation? or potential?

To regular readers of DKos, this may seem like a no brainer. But MSM has ignored them, even in the face of two SCHIP vetoes. Until they are reduced to bumper stickers, we will remain a "Sicko" society.

Originally posted to MrMichaelMT on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 05:52 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We need truly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ca democrat, Newzie, Groucho Marxist

    universal care that covers everyone...and yes, that covers everyone under one system.  That way, we're paying, in effect, for our own care.  It will never work to ask those already paying for health insurance to pay higher taxes for those without.  Quite frankly, I'd rather see us mandate employers cover those people rather than other individual tax-payers.  

    And honestly, those of us with insurance ARE already paying for those without.  We are paying through higher medical costs and higher insurance premiums.  Taxing everyone to care for all just levels the playing field.

  •  I watched Sicko last night (4+ / 0-)

    Great movie, I highly recommend it.  We need Universal Health Care in this country, YESTERDAY!

    •  the current Republican plan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, sc kitty, Newzie

      How do you know a Republican is lying? Ask one: If the Republicans can lower gas prices for 60 days before an election, why won't they do it all the time?

      by ca democrat on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 06:13:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We watched it day before yesterday. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ybruti, sc kitty

      I was not prepared for how powerfully it hit me. I've lost family members to the numbers game, am right now caring for mom here because of the same. Still, it was an incredible indictment of the greed of our culture.

      This week my husband goes to interview to be a janitor's helper. After over 35 years in the work force we are holding our breaths that he gets this job so that we can have health care. We have to untie health care from employment, now.

      Universal is the only way to go. Scrap that, health care for everybody. One for all, all for one. Equal health care. You name it, find the meme that hits the people, I'll go along with it.  

      Pretty Bird Woman House PO Box 596 McLaughlin SD 57642

      by high uintas on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 06:26:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the Schw... plan for CA is another Corporate give (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, sc kitty


    How do you know a Republican is lying? Ask one: If the Republicans can lower gas prices for 60 days before an election, why won't they do it all the time?

    by ca democrat on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 06:14:58 PM PST

  •  Great Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and I agree.  I go crazy when I hear that or read it, I try to explain to them that they are already paying for others who don't have health insurance, emergency care that can't be paid for, that's what we're all paying for.

    John Edwards has never taken a dime from salty food lobbyists and America deserves a President who isn't in the pocket of the snack food special interests.

    by Ellinorianne on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 10:02:40 PM PST

  •  Insurance IS paying for other people's care (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mijita, DBunn

    If you don't like paying for other people's health care, you'd better drop your private insurance.  After all, that's exactly how insurance works: a company collects money from lots of healthy people to pay for treatment of a subset.  If you aren't the sickest one in the group, then you are paying for someone else.

    Not only that, but every hospital you visit also spreads the costs of the people who can't pay onto the people who can.  So to avoid paying for other people's health care, avoid ALL hospitals.

    Oh, and doctors too.  Doctors also have to deal with patients who can't pay, and they adjust their cost structure accordingly.  So you can't visit a doctor who treats the general public.

  •  Slice and dice (0+ / 0-)

    ... your personal costs any way you like. You could be the richest guy in a sinking boat, if you play the game better than anyone else!

    Or, you could help to keep the boat from sinking. Your choice.

  •  Disease is infectious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mijita, ybruti

    Pasteur showed this over 100 years ago. The idea that paying for other people's health care is not in your interest is absurd and unscientific. Diseases are infectuous. Let someone with tuberculosis go untreated because he can not pay? There is a direct effect on everyone.  Universal Access is the only rational solultion.

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