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Monday, December 28, 2009

Obamacare much worse than what we have in Israel

I have a commenter who keeps badgering me about Israel's socialized health care system and why my objections to Obamacare (for which I may yet have to pay even though I don't live in the US) seem so much stronger than my objections to the Israeli system.

There's an article in Sunday's JPost that compares the Israeli system to the current and potentially future American systems, and finds the Israeli system superior to both. The writer is especially down on Obamacare.
Saltman said that although he is unhappy with much of the administration bill, he agrees with the need to introduce substantial reforms in the US, as 17% of its Gross Domestic Product is spent on healthcare, compared to less than 8% of GDP in Israel, which has universal coverage (excluding dental care and adequate chronic care in geriatric institutions). The US spends more on healthcare - $7,290 per capita in 2007 - than any other country.

Israel offers very good primary care, and the vast majority of Israelis are satisfied; although permitted to change their health funds twice a year, only a small number actually do. The US suffers from less available primary care, and preventable hospital admissions for asthma and diabetes are twice what they are, on average, in the OECD.

Saltman believes that Obama's bill creates more problems than it solves. Among its flaws is that it is set up to raise money for 10 years but in effect will cover only six years of services, since it will not immediately offer coverage. "Not only is this dishonest bookkeeping, but you can't leave people without health insurance for years."

Moreover, Saltman argued, "the time is over for this type of big public-spending program. The Obama administration lives with the 1960s in their heads, eager to create a European-style welfare state. But the world has changed. We are in the midst of a Third Industrial Revolution, after the first launched by steam and the second by electric power. We are now in the world of computers and electronics," noted Saltman, "and the US is not the only country to do well in this."

He said that many European nations are doing everything they can to reduce state expenses,"but in the US, we want to increase taxes dramatically on both individuals and companies. You can't do it anymore. There are two billion more new workers in Southeast Asia and all are working hard. They want the things Americans already have. If the US can't come up with a smarter fiscal policy, these countries are going to eat our lunch!"

A second problem, he explained, is that the Democrat's health strategy centralizes a great deal more power in the hands of the federal government. "The Senate bill would set up over 100 new agencies and boards to supervise the health sector. That's a huge amount of federal bureaucracy. While some new regulation is long overdue, especially to rein in private insurers, the current proposal goes way overboard."

This type of federal control runs directly against the feeling of most Americans that they should be able to make their own choices about what health insurer and what doctors and hospitals they use, and makes many "really mad," Saltman added. On top of all this, "the process of writing and passing the bill has been full of dishonesty and strategic errors. The cost of buying the necessary votes to put the bill up for Senate debate was enormous." The "political chicanery in the US now makes the Knesset look like a day at the beach," states Saltman, who has visited Israel a dozen times since 1991.

EXPLAINING WHAT he regards as the Obama Administration's "corruption," the respected health systems expert said "Obama bought the crucial vote of just one senator from Louisiana with $300 million dollars for projects for her home state. To get the final vote this past Sunday night, the Administration cut a special deal for Nebraska, relieving it in perpetuity of all its future joint costs for the state's Medicaid program. This is pure political corruption, as the Democrats purchased the votes they needed with huge amounts of taxpayer money. This kind of legislative logrolling will generate much higher taxes for many years at the expense of our children, who will have to pay off an even higher national debt at rising interest rates," Saltman declared.

The strategic errors he cites include alienating nearly all elderly by cutting $500 billion out of the already badly underfunded Medicare program that pays for their health care. But the worst error, in Saltman's opinion, reflects the financial consequences that the new program will have on the national debt and ultimately on the country's overall solvency.
By the way, Saltman describes himself as a 'former lifelong Democrat.' I suspect that there are a lot of those in the US these days.

Read the whole thing.

Not that it will matter to the commenter who keeps raising the issue. She's one of those people who mindlessly support anything the Democrats do. Unfortunately, we call many of those people Liberals Jews.


At 9:28 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel's health care system is administered by non-profit funds. In the old days, the Histadrut ran it as its own slush fund with a side of government subsidies. Its still not a complete free market system but its not overregulated the way it would be in the US under Obamacare. Of course Israel is a small country and there's no need for an enormous bureaucracy to run things. I can't imagine that working well in America.


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