Before the increasingly unglued House Republicans vote – for the 38th time – to repeal Obamacare, they might look a bit more closely at how Americans have fared under the old system. The Republicans claim that the new law – which, lest we forget, was supported by the American Medical Association, passed by both houses of Congress, signed into law by the president, and approved by the Supreme Court – will (1) bankrupt the country and (2) diminish and “ration” care. So how did we do in the old days? According to a 2010 study of health care and spending by developed countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (published by 24/7 Wall Street), the United States spent far more on health care than any other country and achieved worse results than most. We spent over $8,500 per person annually, including $1,000 on drugs, all of which added up to a staggering 17.7% of GDP – figures that put America in a league of its own. And the results? Off-the-charts obesity and a life expectancy that ranks America 9th from last. And yet the United States remains almost the only developed nation not to provide universal coverage.
Meanwhile, in a further blow to America’s personal and political health, House Republicans unanimously passed a farm bill that (1) abandons food stamps, the 40-year-old program that provides critical nutrition to the nation’s poor, and (2) reaffirms their commitment to corporate welfare by rolling back food safety measures and providing billions to special interests who gleefully [pork] belly up to the public trough.
Note: I will not be posting for a while, as I am teaching a course this week that meets from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Talk with you next week.