ayeamspartacus: (Default)
[personal profile] ayeamspartacus
Let me preach at you with all the zeal of the converted.

At one time, I was against universal healthcare. But research, life experience, and lots of painful, careful thought and soul-searching led me to change my mind. I believe our current healthcare system in the U.S. (or lack thereof in any meaningful sense) is broken beyond repair, and the only solution we actually have available is some form of universal - government-sponsored - healthcare. It's not perfect, but the U.K. and Canadian models certainly seem to work better than ours.

I believe there are two main reasons we have not adopted universal healthcare. One is financial, the other is philosophical. Both stem from the Cold War. These are not the only reasons by any means, but they are the two on my mind tonight. :)

1. Money. Yes, the conservatives are right. A universal healthcare system is outrageously expensive. But I think we should do it because it is the morally correct thing to do, and because ultimately the taxpayers get stuck with worse bills at the end-of-life stage of care under our current model. The solution to our financial problem is priorities.

I believe healthcare should be a priority. Not preparing to fight a world war against the now-defunct Soviet Union. That is exactly what our current military system is designed to do. I am not anti-military in the slightest. But we are spending far too much on "Defense" when there are precious few people we need to defend ourselves against. We will not be engaged in a conventional land war in Europe or Asia within the next 100 years. It is almost impossible. And if we did have to fight any of the half-dozen or so legitimate state enemies we have around the world, we could do so better with a smaller, better-equipped and more mobile force than we currently possess.

Our military spending is essentially designed for a mid-20th Century wartime footing, which is neither practical or sustainable. Yet, half the country shuts down their brains on sheer philosophical principles if you raise the subject of trimming the military budget.

Madness. We can still defend our nation without bankrupting it. If even half of the current military budget were put toward a national health service, we could work wonders.

2. The other reason Americans seem to oppose the idea is the long-dead spectre of Communism. It no longer exists in any real form outside of Cuba, from what I can tell. But the very real evils of Soviet Russia and Maoist China still haunt us so much, that the very idea of "socialized" anything scares the bejesus out of us.

Never mind that most first-world countries have universal healthcare AND high levels of personal and economic freedom. Just ask a Brit or a Canadian, or a Swede if their home countries are oppressive dictatorships. Someone is lying to us about this. I wonder who it might be???

We have to get away from our Cold War paradigm, and join the 21st Century, before the world completely passes us by.

There is nothing silly, or Panglossian about believing a civilized nation should guarantee a minimum standard of living for its citizens, including access to healthcare. That's not only morally right in my opinion, but makes the most "business" sense in the long run. Healthy citizens are productive, patriotic, better-behaved citizens.

Our current political divide makes me sad. I love my country, and I want to see it healed.
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ayeamspartacus

January 2013

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