There is another key item here which enters into the "equation" of health costs in Austria and that is the issue of mal-practice, but more to the point, -- mal-practice insurance. "Mal-practice" is another one of those "invented" issues with a distinct American pedigree; and one of countless examples where the insurance industry is in bed with some other entity, in this case, the legal profession. Now you might ask, "why would the insurance industry want to make big payouts to attorneys, thus supporting the American craze for medical lawsuits?" The answer is simple it is the ever-looming threat of mal-practice lawsuits on the American medical landscape that allows the insurance companies to rake in excessive sums of money from doctors, pharmacists, and you name it for insurance company "protection." Sort of like the old Mafia system of extorting money from businesses as "protection" money "you better pay us these exorbitant 'protection' fees or you'll be vulnerable next time you're hit by that mal-practice suit -- and we'll make sure you are!" But, the key point here is that a prime contributing element to the inflated costs attached to all aspects of American healthcare are the "hidden" costs (to consumers) of insurance company "protection" fees for potential mal-practice suits conjured up by the marriage made in heaven between the legal and healthcare industries.
One of the many items keeping all kinds of healthcare related costs down in Austria is the near absence of the marriage between the healthcare "industry" and the legal profession. Moreover, the insurance industry here is highly, highly regulated and does not get away with all the unsavory practices so typical of the American insurance industry. As a result, doctors in Austria do not hesitate to give you gratis "advice" over the phone; walk into any pharmacy with something that is ailing you and tell them about it and more likely than not they'll give you gratis advice and even an over-the-counter medication based on their advice. In one instance, I went to a pharmacist to buy something to extract a tick from my dog, and the pharmacist insisted on getting down on the floor with the dog to look at the tick and spent half an hour removing it with no charge of course!
Perhaps the most telling aspect of Obamacare is what we hear from Obama himself and our Congressional representatives regarding "Obamacare." President Obama was interviewed on July 15 on an ABC "Healthcare Special." When asked if he and his family would give up their current healthcare program and join the new "universal healthcare" program, Obama ignored the question and did not answer it. Then, a number of Senators were asked the same question, and their response was, "we'll think about it." It was also announced that the "Kennedy Healthcare Bill" has a clause written into it stating that members of Congress would be exempt from the new government "universal healthcare" program.
But, the rest of the America? All Americans will be forced to join the government "universal healthcare" program and will not be allowed to purchase private insurance; all Americans who do not buy into "the program" will have to pay a penalty in the form of a 2 ½% tax on their income. (See, "Here Comes Obamacare," New York Post, July 16, 2009, http://www.nypost.com/seven/07162009/postopinion/editorials/here_comes_obamacare_179451.htm) Does this proposal not have the same "smell" as the previous Bush idea of "forcing" Americans to turn their Social Security "plans" over to the government which in turn would invest this money at its own discretion? A whiff of Soviet one [lousy]-size fits all?
Is "ObamaCare" about improving healthcare for American citizens or is it a kind of "bailout" for the American healthcare industry? Make no mistake, like the "Bankster" bailout and what followed, the Obama healthcare plan is not just about lining the pockets of the already bloated healthcare industry, it is also about turning over to these gangsters total control of the health and well being of all the American people . The healthcare industry is nothing less than one more instance of "corporatism" (based on the "cost-savings" model) which is a corporate/government partnership, indeed, Mussolini's definition of "fascism." Or, to put it in today's most appropriate context, Obama's insurance plan for Americans is nothing less than a "healthcare industry bailout package."
In bold contrast to the corporate/government "fascist" mode, the true free market mode offers choices and competition that drives prices down and quality up. But, Obamacare will shut down choice and the mechanisms required for quality, leaving the American citizenry with something along the lines of post-Hurricane Katrina "care" by the government. American citizens are now being "herded" from the frying-pan-into-the-fire in the same way that the citizens of New Orleans were herded into the Superdome in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
If the American public wants to get a true sense of what's in store for them with Obamacare, just listen to Obama himself, who on the ABC health special (July 15) stated that if your mother breaks her hip, it might be better to give her pain pills (see "Health cartoon was downright scary," Mlive, July 18, 2009, http://www.mlive.com/opinion/flint/index.ssf/2009/07/health_care_cartoon_was_downri.html). I am reminded here of Dennis Kucinich grilling Goldman Sachs's Kashkari on November 14, 2008 and saying to him, "I don't think anyone questions Mr. Kahkari that you're working hard, our question is, who your working for?" President Obama is clearly convinced that his healthcare solution presently before Congress will "work," but, to use the "logic" of Dennis Kucinich, the more important question is -- for whom will this plan be working?
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