As Obama prepares to address the nation tonight on health care reform, the GOP, are salivating after recent polls showing a majority disapprove of the president's handling of health care
At the same time though, those celebrations may be a bit premature because another poll shows they almost unanimously (85%) consider his health care reform drive vital to saving the economy and making sure they personally have access to health care
So how to explain this dichotomy? I think it can be summed up simply:
People have no idea how badly the current system sucks. They are fed the lie that we have the best Health care in the world, and are vulnerable to GOP attempts to instill FUD, that Obama's reforms will take that away somehow. They are hoping the truth is too complicated to fit on a bumper-sticker, and thus they can obscure it indefinitely.
Enter these three simple charts. It is impossible to look at them and not see how bad things really are:
The bottom line is we are getting ripped off badly under the current system
We Spend FAR more than any other industrialized nation on earth on health care
in fact, except for the inexplicable anomaly that is Luxemborg, we spend almost twice as much as even the other richest nations on earth
and yet we are getting lousy value for our money:
You see how the US is WAAAAY over by itself on the high end of the chart? You see anyone even CLOSE
And then for the Coup-de-Grace there is this chart, it shows much the same data, but really puts it in perspective:
you see what country is JUST behind the US in Life expectancy while spending less than any other country on the list? Yup. Cuba. That "failed Communist experiment" several miles off our coast that still inexplicably drive right-wingers (whose houses are filled with Made in Cina products crazy. That's not just sad, it's outright embarrassing.
That chart proves either a) Cigars and Rum have some sort of magical curative properties not yet known to medicine, or b)we are spending WAY the hell too much money on health care bang for the buck-wise.
Now we can and should argue about the causes of the incredible inefficiency in our system and how to fix it. Reasonable people can differ as whether the biggest culprit whether is excessive defensive medicine costs, The 33% overhead the insurance companies suck out, the fact that 93 million people don't have access to early intervention, detection and treatment of their medical problems; or all of the above.
But once we start having that national conversation, we've already won the most important battle: Which is getting people to acknowledge that change MUST come and soon. As they say in various forms of recovery, the first step is acknowledging you have a problem.
I defy anyone to look at those charts and deny the system is broken iwth a straight face.