universal healthcare gaining more universal appeal

[6/13/07]
for years there has been strong opposition in this country against so called universal healthcare. yet, for generations the u.s. has been the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide some kind of universal health insurance.

yet as healthcare costs continue to rise, and more and more americans; some 47 million at last count; find themselves without access to affordable health insurance, it is becoming more difficult for the opponents of universal low cost health insurance to continue with their same old arguments.

the main argument that those opposed to universal coverage make is that america’s healthcare system is the best in the world, and changing it to some kind of universal or single payer system will lead to a reduction in the level of care we are used to. that line of reasoning is difficult to keep up in the face of the fact reported in several respected medical journals that americans now have a lower life expectancy than practically every developed nation, including those with universal healthcare systems. couple that with recent statistics that show that americans are fleeing in droves to be treated overseas in india, singapore, thailand and other places, not only because the costs are a fraction of what they are here, but because many believe the standard of care is actually better. medical tourism is an emerging growth industry.

the other contention held by opponents of universal coverage as an answer for low cost health insurance is that a government run single payer system is doomed to failure and cannot work. decades of such systems successfully run by the department of veterans affairs - not to mention medicare and medicaid - prove otherwise.

with such arguments eroding, universal health insurance coverage is gaining more universal appeal. several of those with eyes on the white house for 2008 from both parties have proposed programs resembling some type of universal health insurance. affordable health insurance for all is even being seriously considered by one of its former strongest opponents: corporate america.

coalitions are springing up nationwide consisting of some unlikely bed fellows to lobby for universal healthcare. names like eli lily, safeway, general mills, and pepsico have all joined such coalitions. and while some may argue their motives, still it is a welcome change, and may be the first steps to true discussion and real healthcare insurance reform in this country.

when it comes to debate on solutions for affordable health insurance, it promises to be an interesting next few years.

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