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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/3/20

The Case for Universal Health Care

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US - The Only Country Without Universal Health Care
US - The Only Country Without Universal Health Care
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There are two main concerns about health care in the US. Foremost is the cost of health care, which is much higher than it is in other countries. The other issue is the quality of health care.

Cost of Health Care

Under universal health care most of our health care would continue as it currently is; the big losers could be the insurance companies and top medical management. So of course they are not going to let that happen. The amount of money involved needs to be understood to appreciate the enormous amount of effort that is used to attack and stop all health-care proposals.

Health-Care CEO Compensation

Not enough people realize that health-care management receives many millions of dollars every year. This is not just a few executives, but hundreds of managers all across the country and throughout the industry. The justification for these obscene levels of compensation is that the best managers are needed to oversee these big companies. That is a baseless claim. The truth is that there are thousands of fully qualified, outstanding leaders who would do a good, or better, job for only $2 million a year instead of $20 million.

A great leader is creative, experienced, and aggressive but extreme levels of compensation are actually a deterrent to innovative planning and decisions. Studies have shown that higher salaries do not lead to better management or to higher stock dividends. A highly paid executive has little incentive to gamble on some new technology or risky expansions. She is concerned with maintaining the status quo and avoiding any mistakes. A good example of how this conservative thinking can be counterproductive is the case of IBM failing to embrace the enormous potential of personal computers and the Internet. Instead of investing in the unfamiliar world of PCs and the Internet, IBM gave Microsoft a contract to develop this market. This is the worst business decision ever made and it was due to the conservative thinking of highly paid corporate executives who were not interested in doing anything different.

The chart below shows how CEO salaries have exploded in the past few years with some more than doubling in a relatively short period of time. These astronomical compensations add no value to the health service provided. No other country has this enormous overhead to deal with.

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The author was a Spacecraft Engineer on NASA's Apollo program and a Computer Science instructor at California State University. He holds a Master's degree in Systems Engineering from the University of California and has traveled extensively (more...)

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