Another major worry here is the fact that the high costs of healthcare in the United States do not necessarily buy the best health care services. The chief concern for corporations like GM and Ford is the ever growing healthcare costs and massive healthcare liabilities. A recent trend has been for major industrial corporations to shift their bases across the border to Canada, where the government provides better support for employee health insurance. There is also a push for healthcare reform to mimic the Canadian system. In fact, under Bill Clinton, such a move was aborted in the last minute due to pressure from insurance and pharmaceutical companies. It is widely agreed that the current crisis in the US health care system is due to higher prices for pharmaceuticals, physicians and hospital care. Although there is consensus among policy makers as to what should be done to alleviate this problem, the required political will seems to be lacking. Rather than trying to reduce prices, attempts have been made by politicians to reduce access to healthcare and service consumption (Tepper & Terry, 2004, p.69). Even with the current estimates on projected Medicare and Medicaid savings, as well as savings from capping deductions for the rich, there is bound to be a “potential shortage of $300 billion to $600 billion of additional revenue because most estimates of 10-year cost of full coverage are in the range of $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion (with some estimates being as high as $2 billion)” (Webster, 2006, p.102). But we have to remember that a deficit of $300 to $600 billion over a ten year time frame pales in comparison to the $700 billion bailout that was handed to the failed financial institutions of our country. Surely, there is something sinister about our economic system, when privately owned and run banks are given preference over the health and wellbeing of millions of citizens.
It is quite clear from the issues discussed above that the healthcare system has to be reformed. In the following concluding remarks, a brief summary as well as some constructive suggestions for reform would be outlaid. As was discussed in the main article, corporate influence over the healthcare industry is a major problem. One of the tasks facing leaders in the industry is the reduction of corporate influence over democratic institutions and political processes. This influence is reflected in the choice of staff members in the executive branch of government, the handpicked appointments to posts in judiciary, the corporate funding of candidates during election campaigns, etc. It is both ironic and improper that the reason healthcare reform became an election issue last year was because of pressure from large business corporations such as GM and Walmart to alleviate their expenditure toward employee health insurance (Richmond & Fein, 2007). This suggests that legislative changes take place in our country only when one or other of the corporate groups will the government to make favorable changes. It then begs questions about the nature of our democratic institutions and whether or not we have a functioning democracy in the first place.
It was also identified in the paper above that the healthcare industry suffers from a lack of fresh ideas. It is then imperative that healthcare industry leaders heed to fresh viewpoints as expressed by noted documentary filmmakers such as Michael Moore, as well as prominent left-wing intellectuals like Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman, etc. According to these alternative voices of reason, meaningful progress, in healthcare or in other aspects of society and economy, will not come about, until we address the broader systemic flaws. Only by embracing some radical policy alternatives can a semblance of ethics be brought into our ailing healthcare system. (Krugman, 2009)