Few issues concern the American public today more than health care. Just ask anyone who has sat for hours in an HMO waiting room or made countless phone calls trying to have a claim settled–or anyone who can’t get coverage. But whenever basic reform is proposed the insurance industry opens a massive campaign against it.
Health care today is part of big business, which in defeating the Clinton plan successfully pushed any kind of basic reform off the political agenda. Continuing citizen support for some form of public insurance is, says Milton Fisk, a sign that basic reform is still possible. In his new book, he argues persuasively that basic reform goes beyond a matter of life and death–it’s integral to maintaining a society where concern for others holds its own against the market.
Health care, observes Fisk, is not simply an individual responsibility but a public good much like education, and commitment to the social values underlying these public goods is essential to any just society. A healthy society as a value worth pursuing becomes an empty slogan when the poor get inferior health care, when workplaces are dangerous to health, and when a focus on medical treatment leaves out our bodies’ environment.
Taking in the broad sweep of social policy in the last half-century, Fisk describes the shift from welfare toward competitiveness as a key factor in the rise of corporate care in the United States. He analyzes the failure of the Clinton health care plan in detail and shows that its commitment to corporate health care was at odds with its reforming intent. He then argues that without national health insurance, needless obstacles will stand in the way of a healthy society. Ideally, the public fund behind this insurance would be derived from a progressive income tax.
Skillfully blending philosophy, economics, and public policy, Fisk’s book breaks new ground in political morality and raises important questions about the way people’s needs for health care are being defined to satisfy corporate priorities. At a time when so many Americans can barely afford to get sick, no one concerned with this issue can afford to ignore this work of realism and vision.
- Medicare Tax? Health Care for the Elderly? Let’s look at the facts about the proposed Medicare Tax … and a medical care program for the aged that already exists! What’s the hurry here? The supporters of the proposed Medicare Tax would have you believe that passage of this controversial bill is urgent … that persons over 5 are deprived of needed medical care because they can’t pay for it. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Kerr-Mills Law, passed by Congress in 1960 – enabled individual states to guarantee to every elderly person who needs help the health care he or she requires. We call this health program … Health Opportunity for the Elderly. Thousands of people every day are being helped by its generous benefits. And unlike Medicare, which would substantially increase your Social Security Tax payroll deductions, existing programs are being paid for now by a part of your present tax dollar! Medicare? NO. Health Care for the Elderly? YES! ….. 1964 American Medical Association Ad, A5157.
- H.R. 3590 – The Health Care Reform Bill as passed on March 21, 2010 — Complete text signed by President Barack Obama (also known as “Health Reform” and … Act 2009 / 2010″) 2,409 pages — Searchable
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