Health

As some of you may have heard, Congress is currently debating passage of bills that would change the health care system in this country. I’ve decided that i ought to take advantage of the Internet and gather up some information, some hard facts, on the subject.

Before we consider changing the system, let’s see what we’re getting with the system that we have now.

First, here are some charts prepared by the CIA, our CIA, so i presume the data are trustworthy:

The first is a table of infant mortality rates in countries worldwide. Note that 44 countries – including places like Cuba, South Korea, and Taiwan – have infant mortality rates lower than that of the United States. The CIA says that the infant mortality rate is one of the standard measures of good health. The AMA agrees.

Infant Mortality

Here’s a chart showing life expectancy at birth. The CIA and AMA say this is also one of the overall measures of good health. Note that 49 countries – including Puerto Rico, Jordan, and South Korea – have greater life expectancy than the United States.

Life Expectancy

These are the conditions that we have under our current health care system. Some of us find it just fine that although we’re the richest country on earth, we’re somehow number 50 in life expectancy and 45th in infant mortality.

Hardly anyone, though, other than persons in the health industry who are getting rich off of us, thinks it’s a good thing that Americans spend over twice what our closest competitors do for our health care, especially considering our miserable standing in measures of good health.

But now let’s look at some fiscal information. Can we afford improved health care? The first chart is prepared by the CIA and shows relative equality of income distribution. Most sociologists argue that a society with more equitable income distribution is a healthier and more just society with lower crime rates.

Note that 91 countries enjoy more equitable income distribution than the United States:

Income Distribution

Now, about taxes. The following table is from the National Taxpayers’ Union, an ultra-conservative anti-tax group. Take a look at what the tax rate on income above the top tax bracket has been historically and notice that Obama wants to raise the rates back up to what they were under Clinton, which was, except for the Reagan years, the lowest they had been, under Republican and Democratic administrations alike, since Hoover!!!!! For the younger generation, Hoover left office in 1933.

Note that during our lifetimes the tax rate on income over the top bracket was over 50% until the late 1980’s.

So when you hear folks squealing about how we’re being taxed to death by Obama, look at what the rates were under those crypto-socialists Ford, Nixon, and Eisenhower.

Here’s the chart:

Income Tax Rates

After all the screaming and name-calling and downright deliberate misstatements we’ve been bombarded with by the propaganda machine financed by folks who have a direct monetary interest in thwarting any health care reform, the above are verifiable facts from reliable sources.

The facts ought to speak more loudly than raving demagogues. Unfortunately, the raving demagogues are in the pay of the health and pharmaceutical industries, as are most politicians of all parties. Then, too, there’s the willful blindness to reality as evidenced by grey-haired protestors yelling, “Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare.”

But the real reason Medicare will never be expanded is that the majority of Americans already have health insurance, and even though they know that they’re paying twice as much for their health care as citizens anywhere else on the planet, they would rather keep enriching the health care and insurance companies and pay more for their own health care than run the risk of having to pay a single dime in taxes for someone else’s. It’s the American way.

San Francisco’s houseboatsOK, beauty break. Here’s a winter view of San Francisco’s houseboats (on Mission Creek):

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