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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Friday, March 19, 2010

    Congressman Bill Foster: Give Us Our Healthcare Reform!

    When Bill Foster first ran for Congress I put a fair amount (by my standards) of money and blogging time and spreading the word to help get him elected. I was thrilled when he got elected.

    But I cannot understand why he remains undecided even at this late date about healthcare reform. We do not need further delay. People are DYING for lack of effective healthcare. Americans are dying. Our economy is suffering from overpriced and inadequate healthcare. What is Bill Foster waiting for?

    Congressman Foster: SUPPORT HEALTHCARE REFORM NOW. This is the moment you prove yourself to those of us who supported you. American healthcare is among the most expensive in the world, yet gives health outcomes on par with Albania, Cuba, Slovakia. That is not right. It is time to fix it and Congressman Bill Foster is in a position to do it. I keep dwelling on these numbers, but maybe someone had better start sending them to Bill Foster because the numbers show very starkly that we are paying too much for lousy healthcare. Here they are (2005 numbers, but the costs have only gone up and the quality down):

    The US ranks 29th for healthy life expectancy. That is right between Slovenia and Portugal. Keep in mind, America is a far wealthier nation than EITHER Slovenia or Portugal, and we pay far more for our healthcare, yet our healthy life expectancy is only 69.3 years. Slovenia beats us slightly with 69.5. UK, with a more socialized system, ranks 24th. Netherlands with a more socialized system ranks 18th. Canada, the system Republicans most like to denigrate when nationalized health care is suggested, ranks 11th. Sweden, which is almost synonymous with socialized health care, ranks 3rd with 73.3 years. We are beaten by nations with much lower levels of wealth (like Slovenia and Italy and Greece).

    How about the probability of not reaching 60 years old? In the US there is a 12.8% chance of not reaching 60 years old. That is slightly better than Portugal and slightly worse than Albania. Yes WORSE than Albania! Again, we are far wealthier than Portugal or, for god's sake, Albania, but that is where we rank. In "socialist" Sweden, a person has only an 8% chance of not reaching 60 years of age. Canada, the UK and the Netherlands all rank better than us on this measure as well.

    How about the probability dying before 5 years old (female): United States: 8 per 1000 people. Interestingly, that is identical to the rate for Cuba. Sweden again out does us, with 3 per 1000 people. Canada is in between with 5 per 1000 people. we pay more than ANY of these nations, yet rank worse.

    How about Respiratory disease child death rate: we are at 40.43...similar to Syria, the Philippines, Armenia, North Korea (yes, NORTH Korea!), and Khazakstan. Canada is at 0.62, Japan at 1.52, Netherlands at 0.88, Sweden at 1.03 and United Kingdom at 1.78.

    Intestinal diseases death rate: United States is at 7.35%, right between Tunisia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Canada is at 0.3%, Netherlands at 0.28%, Sweden at 0.39%...interestingly Poland and Greece do best. Not sure why, but we still are not getting our money's worth!

    It goes on. I am not saying our health care is the worst in the world. Far from it. But when our peers for healthcare are Bosnia, Albania, North Korea and Cuba, perhaps it is time America start to emulate those at the top: Canada, Sweden, Netherlands etc.

    Also keep in mind that Americans SPEND more on health care than most of the nations mentioned that outperform us. We pay more for a worse outcome.

    Contact Bill Foster. Let hom know you want them to support healthcare reform now, before more Americans die and more money is wasted on a lousy system.


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