Issue number four is… Healthcare

We are up against the third issue in a row which is in the midst of a corporate stranglehold. Healthcare is also another of the lightning rod issue. The entrenched two-party system must answer to the corporate health care giants, but will anyone step forward and give this country the ‘real’ medicine it needs?

The function of doctors used to be to treat acute problems… broken bones, cuts, traumas etc. Since then the pharmaceutical companies have taken control of the Congress, their function has changed to pushing lifestyle and feel-good medications. Lost in all this is prevention. Nine preventable diseases are responsible for more than half of the deaths in the United States, yet less than 3% of health care spending is directed toward prevention. The system is not interested in our health – only our money.

There is nothing good in the Bush/Cheney healthcare plan. The prescription drug benefit really only benefits the drug companies. Bush wants to privatize Medicare – another fiscal land-grab. Possibly the largest bit of wizardry is convincing the public that limiting patient lawsuits against HMOs is a good thing. These lawsuits are the only way the little man can strike back when being sold up the river by an HMO. There is NOTHING in the Republican plan that is good for the citizens of the US.

Kerry barely leads Bush in the category because at least on paper he endorses sueing the HMOs when appropriate. He is still beholden to the drug companies and wants to fund healthcare shortcoming by raising taxes… or as he puts it ‘repealing tax cuts.’ I guess it sounds less painful that way. Either way, it means money out of our own pockets.

Ralph Nader
Nader is really leading the pack on this issue. The United States is the ONLY industrialized nation without nationalize healthcare. The Republicans call is ‘socialized medicine’ to throw the old red-scare at you, but it makes sense. We are the wealthiest nation in the world and what has all that prosperity gotten the average citizen? SUVs, nice houses? NO – we paid for those things. Healthcare should be a constitutional guarantee. Now, of course I am not talking about elective surgery – but knowing that if you have a heart attack or broken arm, you will be treated as well as the person with the best coverage should be demanded.

Current report card. Remember, you should NOT agree with your candidate on EVERY issue. If you do, you are mindless automaton and you deserve the government you get. The only thing you can do is to do as I am doing and decide which issues are important to you and vote according to which side has a preponderance of their record in alignment with your beliefs.

Breaking these scores into numeric totals, after two issues, here are the standings…

Nader 35
Bush 22
Kerry 19

At this point Nader is leading… It is interesting because I went into this thinking that I would ultimately choose Bush. I am surprised by 1) how close Kerry actually is to Bush and 2) that Nader not only is ahead, but by a large margin. It will be interesting when I get to the final standings as then I will be adjusting them for importance. This weighted rating is sure to radically change up the ranking as to my thinking the War on Terror is MUCH more important than the economy (which I think is strong enough to take care of itself.)