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Health reform critics lack factual support

Alain Lazard’s recent Other Voices piece in The Union, “A tale of two wounded knees,” may be a personal story of two similar events, but it is solidly backed up with facts. Most of those facts entail dollars and cents and, in the case of Alain’s story, euros.

It will be a noteworthy day, indeed, when free-market defenders of the collapsing health insurance system in the U.S., begin highlighting their argument for maintaining private, for-profit health insurance with solid facts rather than just ideological rhetoric.

Perhaps critics of genuine reform efforts here could begin by rationalizing the comparison between France’s single payer health insurance system and the deeply flawed, for-profit system in the U.S. This would bring to light: 1) the health and economic consequences of total U.S. expenditures on health care of 15.4 percent of GDP compared to France’s 10.5 percent; 2) why we in the U.S. have an average life expectancy that is three years shorter than in France, despite our health expenditures of $6,096 per person compared to France’s $3,464; and 3) any health or economic benefits to the U.S. from having 44 percent fewer hospital beds available than in France and eight fewer physicians per 10,000 of the population.



Terry Fieldhouse

Nevada County Chapter, Healthcare for All





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