Disinfo Readers on Health Care Around the World

Just to help put things in perspective, via Wikipedia:

Public universal health care around the world (as of December 2009).

BLUE = Single-payer universal health care (16)
GREEN = Public universal health care through other means (51)
GRAY = No universal health care or no data

72 Comments on "Disinfo Readers on Health Care Around the World"

  1. That's right, US, you're in the same category as Africa.
    (And they wonder why we in Canada think they are crazy NOT to pass the universal health care bill. Not that it doesn't have it's flaws – but everything does).

  2. Hadrian999 | Mar 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm |

    personally, I am against any government involvement in the lives of people,
    well I'm against any government really……but it may be a good thing if it finally crushes the federal government under its cost

    • Really?

      You're against clean water?

      Clear air?

      Food safety regulations?

      Child labor laws?

      Worker safety laws?

      I mean, do you want me to go on pointing out just how stupid a statement like that “no government” BS is?

      Really, do you think corporations — which are basically oligarchies and dictatorships — are going to treat you better than a democracy? At least with a democracy you have a CHANCE to change things. With corporations you have ZERO voice, ZERO power.

      That you would so willingly give up your freedom like that, is an insult to every man, woman, and child that has died to gain you all the luxuries you now enjoy so carelessly.

      • Hadrian999 | Mar 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm |

        well maybe if there comes a day when democracy actually exists i may be for it,
        as it is it is just a show to keep people thinking they have a choice. corporations own every person who is allowed to run higher than podunk city board. we have lots of government do we have clean water, clean air?
        not last time I checked, we have worker safety and child labor regulation not because of government but because of people banding together not because of government, government is a protection racket,
        they charge us for protection from the dangers they create

        • So your answer is to just walk away from what's left of democracy and give it up to those corporate hacks?

          My answer is to fight for my democracy.

  3. Yeah Africa. Now there's a health care model you want to emulate.


    Unless perhaps you're aiming at population control.

  4. sc13ntist | Mar 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm |

    Sorry everyone, but, as an American, I would like to say that healthcare is not a right. We aren't born with the right to freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and healthcare). That's just not how it works in America. You get a job, pay your bills, and either your evil corporation provides you with healthcare or you buy some for yourself. Even illegal immigrants with no healthcare can go to a hospital and get seen by a doctor and receive medicine because hospitals can't turn you away. So we basically have free healthcare
    anyway. Medicare is a nationalized healthcare plan for old people that they PAY into their whole lives, thus they have EARNED it. I would be fine with expanding Medicare to cover children under the age of 18 who are unable to get healthcare on their own, or providing students with free healthcare because they are doing something productive. But to sit back and whine because the government is taking care of your every need is sickening. America does not do everything for everyone. And that is not what a govenment should be doing. It should be protecting your RIGHTS and FREEDOM and allowing you to grow and better yourself as a contributing tax paying individual. People need to stop whining about what the government isn't doing for them and look at what our government does do for us. We are the freeist country in the world. Why do you think everyone wants to live in America? If you don't like it; move somewhere else. But don't expect the United States to continue bending over and taking it up the ass to make everyones life easier. Do something for yourself for once. Stop relying on the government and rely on yourself. That's what makes an American.

    • E.B. Wolf | Mar 2, 2010 at 4:25 pm |

      At least you admit that Americans “aren't born with the right to freedom, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.”
      But as for the “we are the free(i?)st country in the world” crap -have you been to an airport lately?
      Try putting down your Red, White, and Blue pom-poms and do a bit of uncensored historical research. Any RIGHTS and FREEDOM we still do have in this country is in spite of, not because of, the federal and state governments. While we proudly trumpet the “American Dream” we are marching towards a neo-feudalist society in which the CEO holds the place of the feudal lord in medieval Europe, all aspects of life are controlled by one multi-national conglomerate or another, and the bulk of We The People exist only as a Human Resource to be mined by the financial blue-bloods.

    • Speedcurve | Mar 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm |

      Spoken like a true corporate worker bee. I'm glad to see that you've been swallowing everything your masters have been squirting down your throat. Oh, wait, I forgot. Governments the world over utilize propaganda, but the good 'ol US of A. OUR media/government/corporations tell us only the truth. Bullshit. Having worked for government health care systems for over 25-years, I can tell you that American hospitals DO turn away patients everyday. Regarding your comments about whether American citizens have earned health care; GIVE ME A BREAK. I'm sick and tired of that party line! We pay a heavy toll in taxes, and our infrastructure is crumbling around us. Virtually the only thing we produce anymore is cardboard boxes which we send–empty–to China to be filled with more crap that we don't need. Our educational system is becoming too expensive for the average middle class student, and our social security system is in mortal danger of collapse. Our health insurance is rapidly costing more than the average worker can pay. Premiums increased 114 percent between 1999 and 2007, while workers’ earnings increased only 27 percent.
      If we spent just a TENTH less on being the world police, we could actually afford to take care of our own people here at home–both in retirement pensions as well as healthcare.
      If you really want to rely on yourself, stop paying taxes. See how far that'll get you.

      • sc13ntist | Mar 2, 2010 at 4:58 pm |

        So then what is your answer? Spend billions of dollars of money we don't have on a new healthcare system to take care of everyone? Raise taxes so that the top tax bracket pays 80%, or 90% of what they make back to the government instead of 60% which is where it is now? Do you honestly think that switching over to nationalized healthcare and giving the government the responsibility of 300 million lives? I think the government is a little preoccupied at the this particular moment. How about we get our economy back in check and get ourselves back into the rung of number one superpower. Then we can give the government the task of nationalized healthcare. Why is it the people on the left want everything for themselves and they want it RIGHT NOW? Nationalized Healthcare, fuck what it costs, give it to me NOW. And if it weren't for my paying taxes you wouldn't have a government to be asking things of. Us here in the top 1% tax bracket pay for everyone else to float along in this country. How about everyone pay taxes and then they can have an opinion. Just a thought. And in regards to people getting turned away from hospitals; I don't really agree since I have seen it first hand. People without health insurance can get healthcare. In conclusion my main point is that American needs to regroup and revamp itself. We are spread too thin and doing too many things with money we don't have. So lets stop everything, see what's working and what isn't, change things around and continue building up. Spending billions of dollars on a healthcare bill is not the answer. Throwing money around is not the answer.

        • Speedcurve | Mar 2, 2010 at 5:49 pm |

          Regarding your comment about, “Do you honestly think that switching over to nationalized healthcare and giving the government the responsibility of 300 million lives?” Take a look at the map at the top of this page. What makes OUR government so crappy that we can't handle a nationalized healthcare system? It works amazingly well in virtually every other 1st-world country that I've visited or studied. There is NO reason to think that it won't work here. On the other hand, there is EVERY reason to believe that the insurance and health care corporations are going to take it in the shorts if we revamp our healthcare system. THEY are the ones who do want the status quo boat rocked one iota!
          If we want to continue as the top superpower in the world, then we have to stop squandering money on wars we can't afford, and paying for “democratic” friends in shaky regimes around the world. We've got to stop expanding government like there's no tomorrow–in fact, we need to cut our government by AT LEAST 60%. There is easily that much dead wood in every government agency that I've worked in, from the Federal level on down. And we need to vote out every greedy, self-serving SOB that is in the corporate pocket and not doing the will of the people; and keep voting them out until we elect some that are willing to represent the people. You inferred that the left wants healthcare reform RIGHT NOW. Health care reform is nothing new–it has been a recurring issue for nearly 100 years in this country. It's just finally reaching the point where something MUST be done; and done NOW.
          We ARE spread too thin, and that's why we need to pull back to the basics here in this country–employment, education, healthcare & infrastructure. If we don't I'm afraid that our grandkids will refer to the 20th Century as the “Century of American Dominance and Decline”.

          • “It works amazingly well in virtually every other 1st-world country that I've visited or studied.”
            I don't where you have visited but you must not have done any looking at or reseach on their healthcare. Canadians have 6-month waiting lists for everything and their Prime Minister has to go to Florida for a heart surgery because they don't have the necessary expert in Canada. If you need an MRI in this country you can get it today…in Canada you wait 6-months. Canadian doctors come down here to the states usually in August because Canada has run out of money for non-emergent healthcare.
            30% of Britains admit to pulling their own teeth because their nationalized dentists will only see easy patients due to the quota requirements. They also have women delivering babies in elevators, hallways, closets, and bathrooms because they don't have enough beds. A recent report showed how people in some hospitals in Britain are left in their own filfth because they don't have the money to hire enough nurses. Britain is refusing to fill perscriptions because they are too expensive. Britain has two types of hospitals: one type for those on the single-payer and one type for those who can afford good healthcare.
            The French pay for a single payer system in taxes and are also required to buy private healthcare as well. It is so expensive the French government is trying to go to what we have in America.
            I am a firefight/paramedic and we transport anybody that needs to go to the hospital and everybody gets seen at the hospital. We have a “You call, we haul” policy. So don't lie and say people don't get seen. We even transport people that don't need to be seen, they are faking illness for any reason (like to get away from their husband because he is hitting her).
            Seedcurve, you are a liar and an ignorant. We have the best healthcare in the world. There are other ways to reduce the costs than giving complete control to the government. Everywhere it is tried it is terrible. For all of you that think it is great, do some research and you will see how bad universal healthcare is. If you can't afford it, get a second job or don't go buy that new car or those cigaretts or the booze or the fast food every day etc. And yes, I have seen welfare receiving, foodstamp collecting, free-housing people driving better cars than I can buy because I have to pay for my food, my car, and my healthcare.
            Do research. Don't just go off of a map or off of some fool your who wrote a comment…including mine.

          • Speedcurve | Mar 5, 2010 at 2:08 pm |

            Thanks, “Fireman”, for proving, once again, the validity of the old adage that says, “It is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.”
            Your statements prove that your primary source of “factual information” is probably one of the hate-mongers from FOX news, and not based on anything from the real world. Canada's single-payer system isn't without flaws. But they're trying. Because there were complaints of excessive waits, the Candadian government allocated $5.5 Billion to be spent over a 10-year period to find and correct the wait-time problem. They've done remarkably well at doing that. Is it perfect today? Nope. Is it better than what we have here? Oh, yeah. I'm not even going to glorify a lot of your more obviously insane statements (1 in 3 Brits pulling their own teeth, etc.) with a comment–they're obviously bullshit.
            If, in fact, you really ARE a “firefight/paramedic” as you state, it must be in some jerkwater place with a VERY limited population base. Most of my 25+ years of working within the government healthcare system was spent in Los Angeles County, and you'd better believe that OFTEN the ER doors get closed to additional patients due to overcrowding. If you're one of the “meat haulers”, you'd try radioing the next closest hospital, and then the next. And if you think that people don't die while you're driving around trying to find a place to unload them, you're even more nuts than you sound. Virtually the only thing that Americans wait less time for is elective surgerys. Big deal.
            You are absolutely right. Do research–and NOT just by watching a little Glen Beck or Rush Limbaugh. Actually do some research and you'll see that the American public is getting served a huge platter of bullshit propaganda courtesy of the corporations who stand to profit from our continued broken system.
            And I'd like to hear from some of the people out there who are “subjected” to a universal or single-payer system. How is it working for you?

          • I get most of the information about Britain's healthcare problems from either the BBC or The Gaurdian. They are liberal leaning and still report the problems. You just want to call BS but have nothing else to say. What about the two different hospital systems in Britain? Is that fair? How about the guy who just died of dehydration in Britain after calling the police who weren't allow to see the guy because of the hospital staff. Yes, he died under government healthcare. Is that fair? I've yet to hear about anything like that here. So all of you that replied to my post want to go from the best healthcare in the world (with a few problems) and turn into a system where your family has to change your sheets because the nurses let you lie in your own filth and you die of dehydration. Great.
            I work in a city of 1.5 million. I have never seen a patient turned away for lack of insurance. We just took a patient to the hospital on a Stroke Alert. She was immediately seen by doctors, nurses, and specialists. Nobody asked for her insurance and nobody cared. She was given the best treatement possible.
            If you are in a bad predicament (D Man) then you are the kind of people we should help. It is the people who don't want to take the responsibility to help themselves. They pay for an XBox 360 AND a PS3 and $60 games instead of paying $50 for a doctors visit. They pay $500 a month for a new car instead of $200 a month for a car and $300 for health insurance. As a firefighter I have seen this kind of crap.
            Overhauling our healthcare to a socialistic nightmare will do nothing but reduce the standard of care we all get. You mock me for listening to Beck or Limbaugh but likewise you are obviously an CNN, MSNBC Olbermann watcher. You just try to call out others but with no facts. You don't want to the the truth because you are on the wrong side of it.
            In our department we have several guys from Canada. They all love our healthcare. They had a chance to move back and didn't. It is obvious that you don't actually know anybody that had to live under it and then moved here to see how ours is.
            If you do work in the hospital system then you don't actually see how your poor people spend their money. Go look. Get better educated on this. You too might decide that something else needs to be done first.
            And most importantly, move to Canada if you think their healthcare system is sooooo great. Me, I'll stay here.

          • its funny to me that whenever conservatives are talking about how much better our healthcare system is than somewhere else. they always leave out 5 key words: “IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT”. I got news for you buddy. There are people here that DO have insurance that have been waiting a hell of a lot longer than six months for a surgery. In the wealthiest democracy in the world; there are people dying everyday because they are poor, point blank period. I'll take a six month wait for my triple-bypass, over being told that it's experimental and not covered. OPEN YOUR EYES

          • yeah, we lived there too, I think it's a lot more convenient ESPECIALLY with prescriptions if you can't afford them

          • Canadian | Mar 7, 2010 at 7:08 pm |

            Hey Fireman I just wanted to point out as a Canadian the Prime Minister of my country did not go to the United States for Heart surgery. That was the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. He also went not because he could not get the surgery done here in Canada he went because of a specific technique that that doctor in Florida invented.

          • Ha! See what I mean, Fireman! In the US the health care industry wants the media to report half the story; sadly, they comply.

          • Ha! D Man. Read above and you will see that Canadian didn't tell the entire story. So your Ha! is a little premature.

          • You are absolutely correct. Danny Williams is not the Prime Minister of Canada. My mistake. But it is funny how you don't mention that he is, in fact, under Canadian health care. It is also funny that you say he could not get the procedure done in Canada because he could. But he CHOSE the US health care system. Because I too made a mistake I will believe that you simply made a mistake in mistating that fact. Here is an article: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/canada/10030
            I also like how Mr. Williams states that many Canadians CHOOSE to come to the US for treatment. Oh, what are they going to do when they can't come down here for health care. I guess they will die because they can't get an MRI for six months or they can't get scheduled for surgery for another six months after finding out they have brain cancer that would have been operable if only it didn't take six months for an MRI. If you need an MRI here, you can get it today. You can't say that.
            Plus, if we didn't have system where doctors could get rich inventing specific techniques, then they would not be invented OR they would not be invented until many years later. It is called Capitalism and it works when the government keeps it nose out of it.

          • The Memorial Storm | Mar 23, 2010 at 12:04 am |

            What this article does not address is that health-care in Canada is a provincial responsibility & that Mr. Williams is the premier of what is unofficially classified as a “have-not” province. This status means that they receive “transfer payments” from the rest of the provinces via the federal government in order to ensure some level of equality. Mr. Williams is a Conservative but has been the centre of controversy in the past in his vocal opposition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a fellow (albeit federal) Conservative, over issues that include, among others, the issue of equitable “transfer payments” to the province of Newfoundland & Labrador from the federal government. In this light, Mr. Williams' statements can be perceived as being just one of another long string of inflammatory statements that reflect the beefs he has with the way his federal Conservative counter-part Harper conducts government.

            Besides, as the premier of a province, Mr. Williams has financial resources at his disposal that the average Canadian does not have. The Canadian health-care system is not perfect, so yes I might have to wait 6 months for open-heart surgery if I needed it. But if I had the resources that Mr. Williams has, I'd jump the queue in Newfoundland & jet to Florida too, why not? Essentially, his statements do not illustrate the admitted problems within the Canadian health-care system, but rather high-light the understanding that regardless of the health-care structure of a nation, wealthy people will get the services they need when they need it, while us average folks (not to mention the poor folks) have to eke it our for ourselves & our families in any way that we can.

          • I scheduled a dermatologist appointment in November of 2009 and wasn't seen until February 2010. Oh, and I had to pay out of pocket for it because I don't have insurance. I am an unemployed holder of a B.S. in History from SUNY Brockport, and an accompanying M.Ed in Social Studies, so don't give me the “non-contributing zero” talk.

            I also have many Canadian friends who would not trade places with me. The “six-month” waiting list in countries like Canada or the UK is completely overblown. How long to people have to wait for organ transplants in the US – sometimes up to a year?

            When you get into very specific, technical procedures, yes, you're going to run into waiting lists – that's common sense. My girlfriend lived in England for two years; the waiting lists, the bad service, the quotas, the “nightmares” – all either exaggerated or fabricated.

          • I have a degree in computer programming and I am a firefighter. Open your eyes to something new and you won't regret it. I am much happier than I was as a programmer…even though my paycheck is much smaller.
            I hope your luck changes. As I said above, you are the type of people we should be helping. When you get back on your feet I'm sure you will be a productive member of society so out government should help you get there.
            Good luck.

        • If you don't reform healthcare now, it will cripple the country. This measure is not just deficit neutral, according to the NON-partisan OMB, it actually REDUCES THE DEFICIT.

          This will SAVE you money, not cost you more.

          But if you leave this to the greedy corporations? Believe me, it'll cost you. It's already costing you. Health care prices last year went up between 33% and 57% all across the country, and the health denial industry has only promised more increases.

        • Actually, the top 1% are the biggest welfare recipients in this country. The Federal and State governments spend more taxpayer money on corporate giveaways (incentives, tax breaks, etc) and entitlements than they spend on aid to the other 99% combined. Let's not forget the biggest welfare entitlement recipients are military contractors.
          I love how “fiscal conservatives” never bat an eye if we put trillions on the national credit card to reign death around the globe, but propose a few billion to shore up the healthcare system and they scream socialism.

        • Do you not realize that we already spend billions of dollars a year on healthcare. It is the single biggest burden on our economy. Not because too many people are being taken care of. But, because not enough people are being taken care of. The problem is the entire healthcare system. it is a for-profit system. That means that even if you can afford insurance, your insurance company's number one goal is to make money ; not to keep you healthy. THat is why people lose their coverage when they get sick, or get told that there procedure is “experimental” and isnt covered. The insurance industry is the only one that is allowed an exemption form anti-trust laws. and they have been fixing prices ever since. Imagine if all the grocery stores could get together and decide that they would all charge 20 bucks for a gallon of milk. There would be no competition, and you would therefore have no option but to pay it. THat is what your insurance company has been doing for quite some time now. I agree that it isnt your government's job to take care of your every need. but it is there job to protect you from entities that you cannot possibly protect yourself from.

        • Billions of dollars that we don't have? We have more than enough money tied up in the defense budget to fix health care, social security, public education, and even take a bite out of world hunger (if you don't mind my pun).

          The proposed legislation for health care is supposed to cost $9 billion over ten years (or something close). We now spend over $700 billion on defense annually – just over 4 percent of our GDP (2005 est). China, the next highest in defense spending, commits about $87 billion to it annually – less than 2 percent of it's GDP. In 2003, the US's defense spending was approximately $400 billion; China's was around $7 billion.

          We spend the most on health care of any nation, and the most on defense/war. We have a private health care system and are the most warlike country. Both of these are billion dollar industries.

          Having nationalized health care has NOTHING to do with being American or not, it's completely, solely, and only a business decision wrested from the hands of the people through increasing corporate interference in the nation's politics. At the myopic caveats of big government, we get something of the exact opposite.

          • And that $700 billion doesn't include the tab for Iraq or Afghanistan. Those bills are on the Federal credit card drawing interest.
            How much longer before the defense budget is deemed classified “in the interest of national security?”

      • Quote of the day: “Virtually the only thing we produce anymore is cardboard boxes which we send–empty–to China to be filled with more crap that we don't need.”

        • Great quote. Source please?

          • Speedcurve | Mar 8, 2010 at 12:11 am |

            Thanks, Wolf. It's my own comment–actually more of an observation of our sad American condition. And what REALLY pisses me off, is that so many people here continue to buy in to the mainstream propaganda line. “We're Number One!!” “Things Might Be Shitty Here, But It's Still Better Than Anywhere Else!!” Etc. Etc. What a crock! I tend to run more toward what I saw on a bumper sticker a while ago, “I love my country-But fear my government!”

          • I hear the same comments all the time. Have you ever noticed the people who parrot those slogans with the most enthusiasm tend to be the ones who rarely venture far from home? It's almost like there is a direct connection there….

    • prufrock | Mar 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm |

      Are you high? What part of “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” is unclear to you?

      I believe THAT is what makes an American.

    • Even if you maintain that the right to human health is not a Natural Right (which is absurd, but ok), isn't America about expanding rights? Making life better, safer, more open, more honest?

      Simply because we threw people to the wolves before, why does that make a more civilized response a bad idea now?

      People on the rightwing, while simultaneously denying evolution, always seem to run around with this “survival of the fittest” nonsense when they think it will win them an argument.

      Which is why they should probably actually READ Darwin to understand that there is also a survival advantage in cooperation, community, and sharing. And another key feature of Darwin's observations is that he discovered that one of the main drivers of adaptation and survival is creativity. That life will sometimes simply try something new, even if it may not appear to have a survival value initially. This principle is called transcendence.

      Why can't we transcend the cruelty of the past? Prior to Medicare, 33% of all elderly people in this country died in poverty due to medical bills. One year after Medicare's passage and implementation (which I might add only took 10 months) that number was reduced to 10%. It's even lower now.

      The fact of LIFE is, sometimes you CAN'T simply “rely on yourself”. No man is a frickin' island, and you can't “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” IF YOU HAVE NO BOOTS.

      Get it?

      Sometimes it's better for the society as a whole, not just for the individuals in question, if we STOP BEING SELFISH BASTARDS and simply help each other.

    • othersideoftheocean | Mar 3, 2010 at 9:06 am |

      > We are the freeist country in the world.
      Are you sure?

      > Why do you think everyone wants to live in America?
      You are sure everyone wants to live in America (I guess you mean the USA). I for one, don't want to live there and I bet most of the Europeans, Canadians and Australians think the same.

      Here, and in a lot of other countries, you're only insured, when you do something, like going to school, study, work, … So you can't just do nothing an lean back. The difference is, we have a public health care, where companies don't want to earn money. If they earned money, they'd have to lower the rates. It's as simple as that, and that's why it is very hard, even for a president, to create a worthwhile public health care system, as some of the big boys would loose a lot of money.

    • Let me break it down for you chuckles!
      You typed: ” Even illegal immigrants with no healthcare can go to a hospital and get seen by a doctor and receive medicine because hospitals can't turn you away. So we basically have free healthcare.
      Um… no! it is not free, we tax payers AND those who pay for health insurance pay for that “free” healthcare. Hospitals charge more money to the average healthcare consumer because they have to offset the cost of those without health coverage to visit the ER. Which they do because they know they cannot be turned away. Just like libraries, where the books aren't really free, ER visits cost money and you and anyone else who has a job and or has health insurance has to pay for that.

      Next: It is LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (I will just assume you are an idiot and that this is a typo and not a convienent rewriting of the phrase). One cannot have the right to LIFE without the right to HEALTH.

      And if I am going to take for granted that this is indeed a government BY the People, FOR the People, and OF the People, I will take us over an HMO anyday!

      • …and the funniest thing: the only country that actually has FREE healthcare… is big bad cuba!

    • You should really take the time to read the “Patriot” Act. That's what makes an American, a … http://www.aclu-houston.org/rice/patriotAct.html

    • “…healthcare is not a right.” Okay, so when all those people without any get infectious diseases which they spread to you or your family perhaps you might realise that health policies have to be applied to everyone, else the sick will infect the healthy. Money won't protect you from TB or HIV or a hundred other easily spread illnesses.
      “Stop relying on the government and rely on yourself. That's what makes an American.” Is it really? So all the military contractors deserve the free money off the government? What about the banks? What about the private companies who benefit from 'pork barrel' spending? What you actually mean is “Shut up poor people, keep working for your corporate masters like good sheep and don't ask for anything off us”

    • Im sorry you feel this way sc13ntist. Healthcare is a right. It is a human right. Do yourself a favour and move to a country that has universal healthcare and experience it. Then comment. I lived in the US for 6 years and have since returned to my native country – Australia. The healthcare system in the US is atrocious. For the “leader of the free world” to be still in the dark ages confuses me. Here's an idea….drop military spending by 5% and there is the answer to fixing the American healthcare system. Remember the cold war is over and the fear of “reds under the bed” is a thing of the past.

  5. GoodDoktorBad | Mar 2, 2010 at 6:53 pm |

    I think if we are going to have a civilized society, if that is indeed what people want, then decent medical care should be available to anyone who needs it. Shit! If we can spend trillions on wars on foreign soil, to kill people, we sure as fuck can take care of our own. Anybody who can't agree, at least in principle, with that concept is hard to understand.

    BOO! Socialism! Did you that word frighten you?
    Awwww, Poo poo

  6. emperorreagan | Mar 2, 2010 at 8:15 pm |

    If the United States had universal healthcare, then Al Gore would have sex with all of your autistic children.

  7. United states Of America = Sad & Selfish

    • It is much worse than selfish, it is the disease of exclusivity. It is not just that greedy people want access to anything and everything possible well beyond what they can use, it is that these people want to actively deny access to the essentials of life for the rest of the population. It is not just that they want every bit of health care available to service their needs, they want to actively prevent others from gaining it, they want exclusivity so they can gloat, so that the poor will have to beg them for help. It is the sick delusion of human superiority via wealth, born of psychopathic selfish greed. The poor must die so that the rich can thrive in their self perceived superiority.

  8. USA doesn't have a healthcare system, it has a sickness industry. Watch Michael Moore's movie “Sicko” – it lays out what that map means to the average American

  9. 40 million people without Healthcare insurance is not “freedom”. Without healthcare insurance you would be afraid to even peel a potato in your own house, for fear the knife should slip, this perhaps requiring stitches at minimal or treatment for infection. What if you are hit by a car when you legally cross the street at a crosswalk on your ever unending search for employment?

    What about your pre-existing conditions? Your autistic child, your child with leukemia, your child who fell off his bike? Should you not visit the doctor/hospital for fear of having debt collectors hounding your every paycheque for the rest of your life?

    Relying on Universal Healthcare IS “relying on yourself” yourself having been one of the total contributing to the system in your work and daily living.

    You are the government! (or perhaps this is really not so, given the recent Bush/Cheney history. Haven't them been arrested yet?)

  10. tonyviner | Mar 4, 2010 at 12:28 am |

    I am glad that we have almost caught up to Africa.

  11. It saddens me to watch on CNN over & over again how Americans are being treated. You are pawns in the game of politics. Your lives are worthless in their eyes. When a major medical crisis hits, the only ones benefiting are those who said I told you so. People like Rush Lim(bawl) willingly put the lives of those who are for any reason at all underprivileged, to get a point across. Which generally gets followed up on by Republicans being afraid of his influence. There was supposed to be some sort of cooperation after the last election in order to straighten out some of your more difficult situations. Is there any common sense left in the upper reaches of government?

    Universal health care works very well for the common citizen. It works pretty well with insurance companies here in Canada. Not perfect but a hell of a lot better than the treatment you folks are enduring. I don't understand how those, like our sc13ntist comrade, can oppose something that will benefit so many. Here in Canada everyone gets the same treatment. If one has the funds, they can travel to other parts of the world or they can also afford top health insurance. But, this insurance does not entitle them to any better treatment than those of us who cannot afford as such. They will get their medical supplies cheaper & will be a bit more comfortable. I've been a diabetic for 30 years without insurance for the last 20. I would much rather be provided with the top quality health care services & have to sometimes wait for elected procedures than to put my family out on the streets due to the cost of treatment & insurance. There's countless residents of Canada who live with fixed & low incomes but they aren't losing their homes & belongings after some medical disaster, which is already taxing enough on families.

    I'd like to see some effort put into resolving your continuing struggle with health & safety rather than the normal course of the opposition doing everything in it's power to bring those in power to their knees. How many decades has this been as issue? If you were to chip away at the issue, it may take 5, 10 or 15 years to end up with a more positive system but it will be better than the current method of attacking the challenge. In 15 years the insurance companies will be even richer, the benefits you currently are able to afford will exponentially recede as your payments become higher & there will still be Republicans & Democrats. Do you keep following this trend?

    • Because sc13ntist is likely a paid troll for some insurance or drug company.

      • Sc13ntist is a college student working to pay for his masters program. Sc13ntist is an educated individual with his own perspective and opinions which happen to be different than yours. I do not believe a national healthcare bill is right. Yes I do agree that things need to change. But this is not the way to do it. And please stop blaming the big bad greedy corporations that supply tens of millions of jobs in this country. In your perfect society we would what? All get paid the same? All have the same amount of food? All live in the same style of house? Have some upper form of 'government' dole everything out to us? Yeah. That sounds like heaven to me. That's where I would want to live. Not. Thankfully I am young and I will hopefully get to see America come back to what my parents told me it was when I was little. My father and I talk politics for hours shaking our heads at what is going on in this sad country. In very literal terms; it's all kinds of fucked up right now and I wish I had the answer to fix it all. Maybe someone soon will.

        • robbiesunshine | Mar 8, 2010 at 1:41 am |

          I just have to say from a Canadian stand point, that it is unfortunate you think that way. I make a modest living, own a house, have a child, and I wouldnt have what I have if I was in the USA. I was born with fused heel bones, had my appendix removed, broke my foot, had a child, cervical cancer and some migranes leaving me in need of a cat scan and MRI. Im 23 years old and havent had to pay a dime flat out. It comes out of my taxes but Im happy that I live in a country that cares enough about the individual to help out. I know that someone that hasnt been as fortunate as I and cant work or doesnt work in a job that is as prosperous as mine can get the same care I received. Also to whom ever it was that stated it takes months and months is full of it. If you NEED it right away you get it. Yeah for something thats isnt life threatening it can take some time but least in this case time isnt money.

        • “Yeah. That sounds like heaven to me. That's where I would want to live. Not. Thankfully I am young and I will hopefully get to see America come back to what my parents told me it was when I was little. My father and I talk politics for hours shaking our heads at what is going on in this sad country. In very literal terms; it's all kinds of fucked up right now and I wish I had the answer to fix it all. Maybe someone soon will.”

          Get back to the America (your parents see) it once was when you were little?
          You are that young that you don't have any recollection before bush took office and lost the decade? If your working on your masters shouldn't you at least remember the first Bush. Under Bush I and Clinton America was doing great.
          Let me guess your father thinks Ronald Reagan is comparable to Jesus and the good ol' days were when he and your mom were young and you were a baby.
          Healthcare is a right, if you are sick and without it your life is more or less over. You've never been without so you wouldn't really know. Even the most conservative parties that fought against it in the countries in this map now those same parties wouldn't dare dismantle it since the people love it.
          The governemnt already pays 51% of the health industries tab, most of that coming from seniors on medicare. If some of the senoirs on medicare had a chance to get preventive care in many instances then maybe medicare wouldn't cost as much. Even in the short run, Is it more cost effective to remove a pea sized tumor from a breast at age 58 or when its full blown breast cancer at age 65?

          If you are 100% convinced that you are deciding to inheret your fathers political and social beliefs, then go for it. Personally I don't think we'll have a second coming of Reagan unless the RNC can find another actor to play president; America has it's ups and downs but there isn't “the way it used to be” or “the good ol days”, not that we can “go back to” that is. It's just your father's favorite time peroid in one of his lives, I don't think were going back to a Cold War balance of power for the world, or checking out those new $4000 256 color computer monitors.
          Even if the example was Clinton the same still applies; there are no “good ol days” that we can return to…. even if the government were to try to implement the same policies of decades past. Time is always forward motion, why not pick up a macroeconomic class and a couple GP courses and create your own personal ideaology.

  12. I am a college student working to pay for my masters program. I am an educated individual with my own perspective and opinions which happen to be different than most people commenting here. I do not believe a national healthcare bill is right. Yes I do agree that things need to change. But this is not the way to do it. And please stop blaming the big bad greedy corporations that supply tens of millions of jobs in this country. In your perfect society we would what? All get paid the same? All have the same amount of food? All live in the same style of house? Have some upper form of 'government' dole everything out to us? Yeah. That sounds like heaven to me. That's where I would want to live. Not. Thankfully I am young and I will hopefully get to see America come back to what my parents told me it was when I was little. My father and I talk politics for hours shaking our heads at what is going on in this sad country. In very literal terms; it's all kinds of fucked up right now and I wish I had the answer to fix it all. Maybe someone soon will.

    • jayurbzz | Mar 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm |

      What exactly do you study/have you studied? You don't possibly think that such indoctrination could be ::gasp:: indoctrinated into varying degrees of the American higher education system do you?

      No, of course not. Your father knows politics, and you know politics. Because you learned them [while you refuse to witness them]. We can count our blessings all day, but you're still going to school to obtain a career that contributes to maintaining the wealthy's status of wealthy/getting wealthier, while you can but hope you make a decent-first-world survival out of it.

      Go figure. Don't you fucking dare hide behind “being a college student.”

    • Accusations of socialism…How Original! Can't imagine why I'd think you were a paid commenter. Except for the fact that your arguments follow the paint-by-numbers talking points of United Health, AIG, Pfizer, etc.

      Back in “the good ol' days” the majority of businesses that supplied those millions of jobs were far more localized than the multi-nationals of today. As a result, they actually viewed their employees as people rather than human resources(i.e. a number ). I'm old enough to remember when the local merchants actually new the names of most of their loyal customers, and treated them with respect and loyalty in return.
      The rise of mega-companies have the same effect as an invasive species. They choke out the local inhabitants and spread until there is nothing else left. In the old days, they called it a monopoly.Those big employers you love so much only supply tens of millions of jobs because they haven't figured out how to outsource them somewhere cheaper, and thus spread their influence.
      While I'm not fond of the healthcare bill as is, a national public OPTION is the most practical fit. When the current system was popularized, people often stayed with the same employer for most of, if not their entire, working lives. This is no longer the case. A public health care option would serve to provide competition for the insurance conglomerates that have a stranglehold on the industry.
      What's so evil about competition? Is that not what the divine “free market” is supposed to be based upon?
      If government programs are so horrible, private insurance should have no problem offering a better alternative to socialized medicine.

  13. sc13ntist- you have serious conversations with your “father”. That explains a lot about your views. No research on the subject, no readings on philosophy or political science perspectives, or historical perspective, or even first hand research about other countries(its obvious you never been out of the country).
    No your opinions are based on what other people tell you and your discussions with “father.”

    sc13ntist, your problem is none of your arguments you present are based on any factual data. Everything your speaking regarding your opposition to healthcare is either a) obvious regurgation of purposely slanted propoganda b) blind patriotism about how “great america” is already c) narrow minded observations based off your own limited experience or d) invoking the scary “S” word (socialism) any time an argument is presented about making America a better place for ALL of its citizens.

    Your next problem is you claim a national health bill is not right.. and that the country is screwed..but even you admit you have no idea on how to fix it. You hope “maybe someone will soon”. I guess it is easy to bash any idea that changes the status quo if you have no alternative to present that can equally be subjected to scrutiny. The reality is our country spends the most money on healthcare by far than any other country and we are not getting nearly the bang for our buck that other countries are. I would think a fundamental capitalist like you can think in those terms. On the moral side, lets say I was going to make a wager of $3,000 dollars that you would get an incurable disease or $5,000 that you would die in 5 years..but I can pick the doctors you see and what the doctors can or cannot treat you for.. and you died.. and I profited from it. I think most people would think I was an immoral asshole for betting against and having played a part in your pain, suffering,death. However, if a COMPANY does this.. it is just business! Doesn't it bother you that insurance companies are profiting SUBSTANTIALLY from peoples pain, suffering, and death. And they do this by cutting deals and limiting the physicians you can see, denying coverage, and cutting off people who get to expensive for them or had previous conditions. Now I have no problems with companies making a profit for providing a service to people.. that's American. But if you actually spend some time looking over insurance company stocks you will find that they are stockpiling cash while passing more expense to the consumers and often not providing the services they should be.

    As far as your use of the socialism word, its so cliche. Not everything is black and white.. its not unregulated capitalism vs socialism… because both in there pure forms dont work.
    However, Medicare is a socialist program, Social Security is a socialist program, our military(government run and by definition socialist) even our progressive income tax is a socialist policy. The same people who ranted against Social Security in FDR's days are making the same arguments now. Now, nobody would ever argue for getting rid of social security or medicare(just on how to run or fund it). The same thing will happen with healthcare over time.. people will forget how controversial it was..then can't live without it.. then bitch about how to fund and manage it.

    It's obvious you are young but if all you are ever going to do is block reform progress and hope someone comes along to fix a problem without upsetting the apple cart. Then I seriously hope you dont attain any serious leadership post in any corporation or government job. You will just add to the problem of gridlock that is keeping this country from progressing. You are obviously entitled to your opinion even if it is ill-informed one.

    • exp0sed – I would like to first say thank you for your posting. I can see by reading all of these comments that people feel very strongly about this particular matter and it pleases me greatly to know that people are still compassionate about what they believe in; I find it is very hard to find. Secondly I would like to clarify my earlier post. When I said that my father and I spoke of politics, I meant that we discuss our views on all sorts of politically charged topics. And we do not agree on many of them. He does his own research and studying on things that interest him and I do the same. I have studied politics, religion, philosophy, I received my BS in Psychology and English. I have also traveled to many places around the globe and strive to talk to people from everywhere and learn new things everyday. You say that my arguments are not based on factual data. Ok. I have opinions and observations and things that I have read and studied and believe to be facts. If they are wrong then I need to do more studying to find the truth. But facts aside I just disagree. I feel the way I feel based on what I know and I am sure that these opinions and feelings of mine will grow and change as I grow older and continue to learn. I have posted the thoughts I have now in my comments. I understand that you do not agree with me and I appreciate your breakdown of explaining things from your perspective and I hope I can do the same from mine. I do not agree that my mind has been infiltrated by propaganda; I think we just have opposing views on this particular subject. I do not have the answer to the health care problem. And I understand your irritation that I am not bringing something to table to take the place of what I am disagreeing with. However, I am still learning, I wrote my comments to get reactions and other perspectives and start a healthy debate because only with discussion and the exchange of ideas from different views will we find the answer to this (and many other) problem(s). I do agree there is a problem with healthcare companies and I think that something needs to change. Perhaps you are right and giving the government control over healthcare (since we trust them with national security, medicare and social security) is the right thing to do to get the ball rolling to find the right way to do things. I am just not sure yet. If I had to give an answer right this second I would say no. But I could very well be wrong and I realize that. I am only offering up my opinion based on what I know, or think I know, and from my own experiences; the same as you. In regards to my use of term socialism, I don't think cliché is the right word. I use this word to extend my point that a larger more controlling and more involved government is a step towards socialism. Yes, we have socialist programs that work quite well, but the more socialist programs we add and the more steps we take in that direction scare me because I do not want to see my government fail trying to achieve socialism. I hope that that clarifies how I meant the term to be understood in conjunction with my comment. As I move through your comment I do understand your view of American Corporations and providing jobs because it benefits the corporation. However, it does provide jobs. And I think you are generalizing when you say any CEO would tell you they are only about the bottom line. Per example Meg Whitman is running for California state governor and she was the CEO and founder of Ebay. She in fact created hundreds of thousands of jobs. I believe more people need to have that kind of mindset of benefiting themselves AND others. I am not religious. But I do believe in religious morals and values to some extent. And I think everyone has the responsibility to be a “good citizen” by paying taxes, contributing to their community, helping those in need, etc. But should the government have control over all of those things? Or should the individual have individual responsibility to do their part? In my opinion it should be on the individual. I should be able to contribute money to the programs that I think are working, or the ones that need more money to work better. Think what it would be like if we had to pay a certain amount in taxes but each individual got to decide where it went? My friend in college moved to Brazil and started a non-profit organization to help a small village. She took thousands of dollars of her own money and bought a huge house to teach the local children English, and taught the local people more about farming and how to properly irrigate their fields to allow them to grow more product to trade with other villages and have enough to supply themselves. I would love to contribute my taxes to programs like that in other countries, and more importantly in the United States. I think we could fix so many things if more people cared about helping people to be self reliant and self responsible. Instead we have built a cozy program with welfare and disability that people misuse it and the money is wasted instead of actually helping people. I realize that I have jumped around and touched on many different subjects. My point is that some kind of “nationalized” healthcare system may be the answer if I could trust my government to do the right thing. I have a fear that where our government is now and the people in it are not actually concerned for our well being and although the idea of a nationalized system looks shiny on paper – would it work in application? I would like to also clarify one of my other earlier statements. I said that health care is not a right in America and was responded to saying that my misrepresentation of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” was incorrect because from their perspective Life = healthcare. I suppose I just see it differently than others; I see it as quest for what you want in this life. I read that and interpret it to mean that I am born as an American and entitled to work for what is important to me, the things that I think will make me happy. Now I am sure you will call me crazy, and that is fine, but that is my view on what those words mean. You are right in your last comment, I am young and from a generation that sees the world in a different way. I hope to grow and learn and bring something beneficial to the table when I get to a point in my life where I have the experience to really change things and make things better. To sound even crazier; I don't think people under the age of 30 should vote, I know I don't have all the answers and I don't trust myself or the rest of my generation to know what we are talking about because we don't. We haven't had the life experience to bring anything to the table but thoughts and opinions. You can say that I am being a hypocrite for spouting my thoughts and then saying something like that, but in my head it makes sense. I want everyone to think more about things in general. I want everyone to be involved in some way. I want more people to “care” about this country. So many people don't give a shit about politics, they just float along. I want to stir shit up. I want to make people angry. I want them to think, I want them to live, not blindly go through life agreeing with what they are told to agree with. I hope that my ramblings have answered your questions. I hope that these ramblings of a 22 year old graduate student who started college at 15 and does things differently than many people will make you think as your comments have made me think. That is what I strive for, to make people feel uncomfortable and really analyze and think about how the feel and why. So thank you for doing the same to me. I wish you well and I look forward to reading more comments from you and seeing the world through your eyes.

  14. I'm Canadian. Although I know little of international public healthcare on an intellectual level, I do have some firsthand experience that I can share. Recently, my wife and I spent four days in the hospital after she gave birth by c-section. While there, she received excellent care and free medication. When we checked in, we provided our Medicare numbers, which we have possessed since birth, and when we checked out, we provided them again. There was no bill. Neither was there a bill from the OBGYN who had monitored the entire pregnancy and performed the surgery. Subsequent followup visits to the OBGYN and lactation consultant (because breastfeeding is heavily promoted) were also free of charge, as were his three-month vaccinations (fuck off conspiracy theorists. You know NOTHING!)
    I really have no idea how much it would actually cost to have a baby in hospital via surgery. Now, doesn't that sound like true freedom? Perhaps we have a different sense of the word …

  15. I like this site for it's critical thinking and mistrust of government. I can not believe the people who are for this! Let the government control another thing in our lives, they obviously know what is best for us!

    • 1. I doubt anyone on this site would say that they trust the government. But that doesn't necessarily translate to trusting privatized power structures either. Besides, the private health insurance companies have made it quite clear that they don't give a rat's ass what is best for us.
      2. The Government vs. Private Sector argument might be more persuasive if it wasn't so obvious that it's the same people switching hats every few years (or months.)
      3. I also like this site for it's critical thinking as well but, with a topic that carries this level of emotional intensity, people are bound to get fired up and type from the hip (myself included.)

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  17. yesweCANada | Mar 10, 2010 at 10:56 pm |

    First off id like to state that I am a Canadian and due to my medical conditions I effectively have to live within my country's medical system. About 5 years ago i was diagnosed with a debilitating chronic pain condition that i have no hope of curing(with ANY medical system in the world). My day to day life depends on the many expensive drugs i must take just to live a some what normal life.
    Because I am employed and make over a certain amount I pay into Alberta Health Care(if i didn't i would not have to pay anything) and i also have health insurance what up here is called Blue Cross. My health insurance helps pay for the part of my drugs that my provincial health care does not, my provincial health care covers all of my doctors visits, appointments with specialists,and any test or procedures I must undergo. My health care bill is about $150 every three months and my health insurance is about $60 a month, the remaining that i must pay out of pocket is about $35 a month for drugs. Its safe to say that i spend about $1740 a year in health care (i do pretty good for my self so i pay a little more then some people). I did some research on what kind of situation i would be in if I lived in the U.S. and it literally scared the hell out of me. Lets break it down….1st I could not get health insurance, none, no kind at all. I would be rejected dude to it being classified as a pre existing condition. My yearly Doctor/Specialist fees due to me not having insurance is astronomical, were talking tens of thousands of dollars every year with tests and procedures. 2nd is my drugs, my monthly drug bill because I could not get cover would be around $1200 a month. That's the basics, those are the drugs that make me able to get out of bed in the morning and suppress a pain that i could only describe as every major joint in my body trying to disconnect from each other. I could not go on without this medication. If i live in the U.S. me and my family would be officially ruined with my medical bills. My parents would never be able to retire after both of them working there entire lives, i would never have the freedom to chose my path in life, and i would never have the care and attention of some of the best Doctors in the world (regardless of what your Glen Becks and Bill O'Reillys say we have some damn smart people up here). This more then my health is what I could not deal with. I would not have the opportunity to go to school, get a degree and start a successful business (and pay back into my health care system!) with out the help from my government and our health care system… with that saying our health care system is built upon the people of this country so in fact i could not do it without the help from my fellow Canadians.
    It saddens me to think that this is the reality for MILLIONS of Americans. I will say that our system is not perfect and at times I have felt intense frustration with it. But the fact remains that I am a happy, productive and.. well as healthy as I can ever hope to be. I think it is a shame that your country has no problem spending over $711 000 000 000 so far for a war that has done nothing for your security, has only added to the animosity the middle east has for your country and in turn made the entire world a less safe place. But to add a little over sight and regulation into a corrupt system, a fraction of the money you spent on your 'wars' and to 'proop up your banks'(the largest robbery in the history of the world that even your children's children will not be able to overcome, well unless we all stop using money by then) to help your sick, poor and dyeing is not only unethical, but for such a God fearing nation the definition of betraying the God you so ignorantly hide behind. If you made it to the end of this comment I thank you for hearing out someone who lives your biggest fears(if taking care of your own with “socialist medicine” is a fear of yours) and is happy and well taken care of for it.

    • Thank you for informing the Land of the Free about the horrors of socialized medicine. We need more people like yourself to challenge the corporate propaganda saturating U.S. media.
      “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” -Vladimir Lenin

    • yesweCANada, you partially prove what we who don't want socialized healthcare are saying. Not only are my taxes going to skyrocket because of the “free” healthcare, but I will also have to pay health insurance. Wow, that is great. So, I can pay health insurance, or I can pay increased taxes and still pay for health insurance. Makes a lot of sense.
      Your statement is a bit flawed. If you had insurance when you found out about your condition, it is not pre-existing and it would be covered. When you switch companies, there are laws that state the new company's insurance would have to take you. So you would in fact be covered. Take it from someone who recently found out he has a disease that can be delibitating. I have multiple schlerosis. I am covered. My medication is covered (over $1500 per month). They can't kick me off.

      And there is something that many of you people miss (you people being those that pay for your insurance and are productive members of society). The people in this country that don't have some form of health coverage don't have it because they either don't do what is necessary to get the already existing government option (medicaid) or they don't want it, or they would rather have the new car than pay for it.
      This country is being ruined by allowing the people that want everything for nothing to continue to suck it dry. This is just another example. Why not make them do something for it. If you can't pay then go to the hospital and clean, or mow, or paint, or something. But that is not fair. What a crock!

      • So what you're saying is, it's your problem, it doesn't concern me. Good reply.
        I guess you're hoping to hell you don't get a chronic problem, and your life insurance dumps you, because by your standards, you're dead/screwed.

  18. The ironic thing about all the “Waaa, socialism!” comments is that if you look at the history of the US over the past half century or so many of the innovations have come from either the military or other government-related spending bodies. Computer geeks are notorious for ranting about how free-market is perfect, but in their industry alone we had… US military buying up most of the transistors in the 50s, US military buying up most of the computers in the 60s, the Arpanet and related research, GPS and so on. In fact I'd love somebody to research how many computers are sold each year to taxpayer-funded institutions (local councils, the navy, schools and the like). Of course a similar story can be seen with many other technologies – nuclear power, radar, cryptography, satellites… What tends to happen in the US is the government pours money into an industry and after a decade or two said industry can then commercialise the technology. At which point the CEO comes out and tells you how awesome the free market is. Of course its not just technology, policies like the various versions of the GI bill produced an appreciable Keynsian stimulus to the economy during and after wartime. Remember in WW2 a large percentage of the young men were off fighting and entitled to bill money; this was one of the main reasons the average worker could become educated enough to earn a middle-class living by the 1950s (ask grandpops if he had to pay $100k tuition..).

    I think the difference now is that you have politicians who control the government telling you the government doesn't work, so people then can blame all of their problems on the mythical evil socialism rather than on the useless politicians who have whored themselves out to big business interests.

    Finally the US will simply have to switch to some form of national healthcare soon or else the whole system will rapidly collapse. Think about it – insurance is levied on the degree of risk. Currently young people (low risk) pay low premiums, older people higher. As the populace ages insurance companies can either whack the premiums of all those 50 yr old parents ever more higher or do likewise to the young; and the minute 21yr olds get hit with $1000 a month insurance bills they'll simply go elsewhere or not buy it. Furthermore the world of genetic testing shows that nearly everybody has multiple genetic flaws – you may exercise and eat your greens but your DNA hides a multitude of errors. So once testing becomes cheaper and health insurers force everyone to have it these hidden risks will be revealed and costs will further skyrocket.

    Whereas with a state system the risk can at least be spread around, and the people can lobby their politicians to make sure gene tests are only ever voluntary. Would it be perfect? No. But it would work, and people would be healthier.

    • Mr Baltar | Mar 15, 2010 at 12:17 pm |

      Ged – you said this: “What tends to happen in the US is the government pours money into an industry and after a decade or two said industry can then commercialise the technology. “

      Isn't that exactly what's currently happening with spaceflight? Uncle Sam's taxpayers spent hundreds of billions on Nasa and now private companies will be given commercial contracts they can do efficiently because all the hard work has already been done?

      While I'm here, a puzzle for my fellow Americans – the argument about US healthcare is that in a private system people are forced to take care of their own health so they can pay smaller premiums. But walking around you can see epic numbers of fat and generally unhealthy-looking people. I suppose someone will say these are all poor, but this isn't the case – plenty of my own associates are fat, have substance abuse problems, pop antidepressant pills and so on.

      Meanwhile in other countries the populations seem on balance to be thinner and healthier. You can certainly buy cheap crap in European supermarkets, but there's many less fatties there. England has a bit of a problem with obesity at the moment but that tends to be exaggerated quite badly by their right-wing press, who (just like here) pretend the only fat people are those on welfare. In fact the term 'fat chav' is used to describe them when its patently obvious plenty of the fatties have good jobs and should know better. It seems like fat has become a class issue here and over there – the tabloids will be filled with tales of a particular celeb's valiant weight loss or surgery then other stories bitch about poor people eating fries. Similarly celebrities go to rehab and 'triumph' over their drug problems but poor people with drug problems are worthless bums.

      Funny we think this way in a Christian nation.

  19. melvinpolatnick | Mar 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm |

    The chance of providing quality health care to the poor is now at hand. Nationalized health care will make sure that no person is left behind. We must thank the rich for getting it passed. They will have the power and compassion to raise the payroll tax, and pay medical costs for every sick person. It might anger some of the overpaid, but they have been living high on the hog for too long.

  20. So what you’re saying is, it’s your problem, it doesn’t concern me. Good reply.
    I guess you’re hoping to hell you don’t get a chronic problem, and your life insurance dumps you, because by your standards, you’re dead/screwed.

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