World’s Best Health Care System

It is really aggravating when people claim, without stating their basis, that the United States has the World’s Best Health Care System. In the first place, this is just cheerleading. No matter what school it is, the coach and the student council president will proclaim “We’re number one” at the Friday night pep rally. It doesn’t make any difference if the school is U.S.C. or Eastern West Virginia Polytechnical Institute, which hasn’t won a game in any sport since an opponent was disqualified during the Carter Administration. Depending on how the different countries’ health care is measured, the United States’ is undoubtedly better that Zimbabwe’s, but whether it is better than Sweden’s or Canada’s or France’s is less sure. Furthermore, the quality of the care is beside the point for 100 million uninsured and underinsured U.S. residents. They don’t get it.

Secondly, the United States does not have a “health care system.” We have a medical service industry. Then we have a health insurance industry that rations medical services based on insured status and rakes off 15 or 20 per cent. If we really had a system, one third of the nation would not lack adequate health care.

We need a public health care system like Medicare that everyone can buy into at a reasonable price. Medicare has been a wonderful success, despite all the criticism from the political right, the American Medical Association, and the health insurance industry. There are problems, but they are manageable and susceptible to reform.

Health insurance executives are whining that they cannot compete with a public health care system. What better argument could you find in favor of establishing it? They cannot compete because a public system would be fairer, more efficient, and less expensive than the private insurance industry. These executives are like muleskinners a century ago whining that the internal combustion engine will put them out of business. True, but is that a reason to outlaw gasoline?

We need an inexpensive public alternative to private health insurance. That it will hurt the insurance industry is no excuse for leaving 100 million Americans without adequate health insurance. A fair health care system is a fundamental part of the social infrastructure. It is time to fill that void in the United States.


John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
©2009 John B. Payne, Attorney

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