Noam Chomsky on Health Care

Political Activist


National system covers all & removes wasteful inefficiencies

A majority of the public has long favored a national health care system, which should be far less expensive and more effective, comparative evidence indicates (along with many studies). The US is alone in relying on such a system, which, quite apart from its impact on those who are left out, introduces numerous wasteful inefficiencies (complex billing costs, close surveillance of doctors by insurance company bureaucrats, advertising, profits, the expenses of cherry-picking and denial of treatment on the basis of small print, reliance on expensive emergency room care for the tens of millions of uninsured and underinsured, etc.). Largely for these reasons--and because of the legislation, unique to the US, that bars government negotiation of drug process--per capita health care costs in the US are about twice those of other industrial countries, and outcomes rank low among them.
Source: Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p.226 , Jun 1, 2010

Divert military spending to preventable diseases abroad

Freedom without opportunity is the devil’s gift, and the refusal to provide such opportunities is criminal. The fate of the more vulnerable offers a sharper measure of the distance from here to something that might be called “civilization.” While I am speaking, 1,000 children will die from easily preventable disease, and almost twice as many women will die or suffer serious disability in pregnancy or childbirth for lack of simple remedies and care. UNICEF estimates that to overcome such tragedies, and to ensure universal access to basic social services, would require a quarter of the annual military expenditures of the “developing countries,” or about 10% of US military spending. It is against the background of such realities as these that any serious discussion of human freedom should proceed. It is widely held that the cure for such profound social maladies is within reach. This hope is not without foundation.
Source: Profit Over People, by Noam Chomsky, p. 91-92 , May 2, 1997

Payments in health care system should be progressive

In a Canadian-style insurance system, the costs are distributed in the same way that taxes are. If the tax system is progressive-that is, if rich people pay a higher percentage of their incomes in taxes (which all other industrial societies assume, correctly, to be the only ethical approach)-then the wealthy will also pay more health care costs.

But the Clinton program is radically regressive. It’s as if [rich & poor] were both taxed the same amount, which is unheard of in any civilized society.

Source: Secrets, Lies, and Democracy, by Noam Chomsky, p. 25-26 , May 2, 1994

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Page last updated: Jan 28, 2020