The Politics of Health Care
More than six decades after President Franklin D. Roosevelt articulated “the right to adequate medical care and opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health,” the United States, virtually alone among wealthy nations, does not have universal health care coverage. The health care system is sick, failing, expensive, and inefficient. Its attendant paperwork and mumbo jumbo are legendary. In addition to ever increasing millions of those without insurance, many more millions have inadequate coverage with huge deductibles. Medical emergencies and hospitalizations are probably the number one cause of driving citizens into debt and bankruptcy. The health insurance lobby, representing 1500 corporations, is one of the most politically powerful and exerts enormous influence in Washington. And the people? They are symbolically left standing out in the hall. Isn’t it time for the U.S. to have a comprehensive national health program for its citizens?
Ralph Nader has spent a lifetime fighting on behalf of ordinary people. He has run for president four times. Life magazine ranks him as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century. Founder of Public Citizen, he is a long-time advocate for consumer safety and workers’ rights. He rose to fame in the 1960s when he took on General Motors and its unsafe Corvair car. His book Unsafe at Any Speed not only created a sensation but was instrumental in the enactment of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. His efforts helped create the Environmental Protection Agency. He has exposed the misdeeds of the corporate sector as well as of the political system. In recent years he has been in the forefront of the struggles around NAFTA, the WTO, corporate welfare and single payer health care.