Bush, OSHA, TB, and the Need for a Universal Healthcare System

While others have commented on the gross ineptitude of OSHA, which is charged with worker safety, during the reign of Little Lord Pontchartrain, one point that wasn’t raised is that the OSHA fiasco also shows why we need universal healthcare that has government insurance, not private. From the Washington Post article:

Among the regulations proposed by OSHA’s staff but scuttled by political appointees was one meant to protect health workers from tuberculosis. Although OSHA concluded in 1997 that the regulation could avert as many as 32,700 infections and 190 deaths annually and save $115 million, it was blocked by opposition from large hospitals.

There’s a simple reason why hospitals opposed this regulation: it would cost them money to implement these procedures, but the hospitals wouldn’t realize any of the savings–insurance companies would. Arguably, this is why there are regulators: some things, such as not turning 190 hospital workers into dead people, are worth the financial hit. But as long as savings–and keep in mind the program would have lowered overall costs by $115 million annually–are parceled out among different special interest groups*, each armed with lobbyists that can corrupt oversight mechanisms, then we will continue to have health care inefficiencies that kill people.
That’s why we need socialized insurance–not answerable to shareholders–because it’s actually more efficient economically and in terms of public health.
*Younger readers might not know this, but there was a time when the phrase special interest group did not mean black people or teachers’ unions.

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3 Responses to Bush, OSHA, TB, and the Need for a Universal Healthcare System

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