Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some Americans are still Living in the 19th Century

I am one hundred percent in favor of universal, single payer health care, because I have lived in several countries that have that system and I have experienced it first hand.  It is a great relief not to have to worry about paying the doctor, or affording medication.
But the health care reform now under discussion seems to have generated a very complicated organizational chart, which would scare anyone.

That is because the President  is afraid to go all the way, so we end up with a very complicated system that is trying to meet all the criticisms of all the sectors involved.  I was present at the now infamous town hall meeting run by Senator Specter and Secretary Sebelius in Philadelphia ten days ago, and when an opponent of the plan held up the chart she had printed from the government's own website, I was appalled.

A single payer system is a simple, straight forward system. It can be organized in various ways.  The president should send a commission around to see how other countries do it and report back.  Then Congress should chose one of these example, knowing that it has been working for decades.  There would be no guesswork involved.

The Germans have had universal, single payer health care since the Iron Chancellor Otto von Bismarck instituted it in 1870!  In most other countries of Europe, everyone has been covered since the end of the second world war, and that was 54 years ago!.

Is our government less capable than those of other countries?

Our government is running Medicare to everyone's satisfaction.  It runs a lot of things.  Without a government, we would be in a state of anarchy.  Why do we have what amounts to an anarchical system of health care?

I just heard ex-presidential candidate Ron Paul saying his doesn't agree that every human being is entitled to health care. Many of those I heard at Senator Specter's meeting wanted to make sure no government money would be spent on abortions, at the same time as they proclaimed loudly that people, once born, are not entitled to health care!

Maybe Americans are particularly wary of government because our country was created by fighting the British government.  Maybe there's some confusion between a foreign occupier and one's own elected government.

Maybe if more people realized that a government that responds to the majority's needs is a good thing, not to be confused with a foreign government that occupies your country, we would understand why peoples we occupy hate us, and at the same time, we would feel better about our own government doing things that need doing here, and which we cannot do equitably without it.

The very idea of making a profit (as opposed to getting a salary), out of saving lives should be abhorrent to us.

While we bicker over how to pay for universal health care, we overlook the fact that, according to figures heard on CNN this morning, it would suffice to do away with private insurance companies and their profits to pay for all the uninsured.

Or maybe it's the fact that Americans are so used to being the world leader, that we cannot imagine that some things are being done better by others.

Let's not be afraid to follow, and catch up to the rest of the world, in the 21st century.

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