View Full Version : Universal Health Care in Iraq: Why not in the U.S.

Roberto T. Cast
05-04-03, 02:06 AM
El bushwacker :bandit: should be the president of Iraq and not of this country. El bushwacker cares more for the people of Iraq health than the American people. This WAR is also about OIL and el bushwacker is in the OIL business. Afterall, we might find el bushwacker in Iraq working in the oil business after he leave the presidency. Maybe that is why he want a National Health Program for Iraq because el bushwacker is preparing ground for his future oil business in Iraq. El bushwacker is bushwacking the American people and he will bushwack the Iraqi people in the future. :yes:
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(Jack Anderson and Douglas Cohn are columnists for United Feature Syndicate. Political Correspondent Eleanor Cliff constributed)

President Bush promises to make health care available to the Iraqi people as part of the countryís reconstruction. While that is an admirable goal and should be applauded, it raises an uncomfort-able question here at home. If the Bushadministrationcan afford univer-sal health care in Iraq, why canít it extend health care to the 44 mil-lion Americans who are without health insurance? A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that Americans
worry more about being able to afford health care coverage than any other economic concern, and theyíre right to worry. If it werenít for the dis-traction of war in Iraq, health care would be dominating the political debate. Health insurance premiums are rising while coverage is shrink-ing. Fewer employers provide cover-age, and those that do require employees to shoulder a bigger share of the costs.

Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and other politicians are ready to confront the most glaring omission ofthe American health system: The tens of millions of people who lack coverage. Itís shameful that the rich-est economy in the world is the only industrialized nation that doesnít pro-vide this basic need for its popula-tion.
Gephardt spent 25 years in Congress, where he earned a repu-tation as a legislator who was always attentive to the needs of working people. Now heís running for presi-dent, and heís gotten the attention of his fellow candidates by being first out of the gate with the most far-reaching health care plan.

Gephardt would repeal Bushís tax cuts and put the money into subsidiz-ing employers to provide health care, a move that he claims would jump-start the economy while getting employers to do the right thing. Unfortunately, linking health care to taxes is not an effective approach. Revenues go up in good times and
down in bad times, regardless of the tax rates, but major budget items still get their fair slice of the pie. Universal health care should become a major budget item, just like national defense. Although we find it problem-atic to link taxes with health care, Gephardt does deserve credit for launching the debate. Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who is a medical doc-tor, entered the Democratic presiden-tial nomination race more than a year
ago thinking he was the health care candidate. Heís been pigeonholed as the anti-war candidate, but he has plenty to say about how to achieve universal health coverage. Dean wants to expand existing programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and then
fight about how to reform the system. Itís been a decade since Hillary Clinton tried to remake the nationís health care system. Many of the changes her critics warned about have occurred, while none of the safeguards she supported were put in place. Insurance companies make decisions that should be left to doc-tors, and more Americans are forced into managed care plans with tightly regulated access to specialists. After a decade of incremental change, Americans are no better off when it comes to affordable, quality health care. If thereís a silver lining, itís that some politicians are finally ready to propose bolder, more far-reaching change than the baby steps the government has taken since Hillaryís failed experiment. Why should it be so hard to extend basic health coverage to everybody? We already provide universal coverage for select groups. Those who are 65 and over receive Medicare. Our ser-vicemen and women are covered by
the military. People below the pover-ty level are eligible for Medicaid. The logical answer to the nationís medical woes is a national system that would be publicly financed like Medicare. If Bush keeps his pledge to bring health care to Iraq, doctors in
Baghdad will be billing the U.S. gov-ernment. American taxpayers should...........
(Jack Anderson and Douglas Cohn)