CALL CONGRESS DAY
As I noted last week, today is Call Congress Day. The reason is that tomorrow, President Obama's deficit commission (also known as the cat food commission) will issue its final recommendations to reduce the deficit.
Commission co-chairs, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, published their own report a couple of weeks ago containing drastic cuts to current and future Social Security and Medicare benefits. It is not known how the report may be changed before the final release.
With so many in Washington apparently believing that Social Security contributes to the deficit (you know, of course, that it does not - not one penny), it is important for those of us who are less ignorant and/or venal to let our representatives know where we stand.
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has set up a toll-free hotline to your congressional representatives:
Of course, you may also email if that is more convenient. Find your representatives' email at congress.org.
Please call today and tell your representatives, Hands Off Social Security. If we don't, who will?
COMPARATIVE HEALTH CARE COSTS
The International Federation of Health Plans (IFHP) is a group of health industry leaders from 31 countries representing 100 companies. Following their recent meeting in San Francisco, they issued a Comparative Cost Report [pdf] of medical and hospital fees in various countries.
The charts are too large to reproduce here; shrinking them would make them unreadable. Instead, here are the average prices from selected countries for three common medical costs – all are listed in U.S. dollars.
(Total hospital and physician cost)
U.S. (average) $14,764
Switzerland and Germany $78
Average Cost Per Hospital Day
New Zealand $3220
In every instance among the 23 IFHP charts, the United States reports the highest costs. Most of the represented countries have some form of socialized medicine administered by the government or through private providers subsidized by the government.
In three of the standard health benchmarks:
• With the exception of Argentina, every country listed by the IFHP has a higher life expectancy at birth than the U.S.
• With the exception of Argentina again, the U.S. has higher infant mortality rate than the countries listed in the IFHP charts.
• With six exceptions in the IFHP charts, the U.S. has highest number of preventable deaths per 100,000 population.
Certain – usually right-wing – politicians, while denouncing “Obamacare,” are fond of referring to U.S. health care as “the best in the world.” But according to survey reported last January in The New England Journal of Medicine, the U.S. health care system ranks 37th in the world and, they say, “the United States is falling farther behind each year.”
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Almost Worthless