Monday, 7 September 2009

US Healthcare Has Taken Over The World

I got an e-mail from Blogger saying they'll cancel my blog if I don't discuss US Healthcare at least once - apparently this is what blogs are for this year, not unlike last year when I was required to write about New Zealand electing its new pope at least once.

Seriously, though:

The last time the entire world got swept up in the U.S. Media cycle was the Election '08 - it's happened before that as well, and will happen again, I'm sure. But I've got to just say that it was a lot more fun having every world news site monopolized by McCain, Billary, Obama and Giuliani than it is now having BBC talking about whether or not U.S. should socialize health care.

Few reasons for that: with the campaigning thing, it was fun to pick a horse and root for it. Each had strengths and weaknesses, and the polls were changing -- it was fluid and interesting and it was a character-driven narrative. With this healthcare thing, it's issue oriented, and it's super-polarized, and the compelling thing is not a McCain blunder causing a hit in the polls or "Did Hillary play the race card or not?" but it's "How shrill have the republicans gotten this week?" and "How many times was Obama compared to Hitler yesterday?" -- ROK Drop even suggested that the US political landscape is starting to look as shrill and polarized as the Korean one.

When stuff like this happens, I die inside a little. Is this REALLY how people engage relevant issues?

Anyway, my dear blog-friend/friend in real life Tamie has written an interesting blog post asking how Christians in America can quote scripture as they basically assert that they don't think the poor should be helped...when helping the poor has been one of the basic tenets of Christianity, pretty much... all the way until the political party that had co-opted Christianity wanted to oppose socialized health care. You should read what she wrote, if you care about the way religion and politics so often bleed into each other in the US.

For me, I feel like socialized health care is something that every country's going to eventually end up doing, as its infrastructure becomes able to accomodate it. "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice" (MLK Jr.) (and also toward societies figuring out how to help their own out). It's more a question of whether US will come up with some form of socialized health care this year, or in 2026, after being made a laughingstock by other, smaller, poorer countries, who HAVE managed to help out the little person (by which I mean the working poor, not the vertically challenged) sooner than they, because some rich people didn't like to share, and the health insurance lobby was too successful protecting their income.
But that's just me, and my political leanings have been made pretty clear by now, so you don't have to believe or agree with what I say... just don't compare me to Hitler.


Foreigner Joy said...

I think this reflects a frame of mind regarding health care amongst Americans. (which I am you know Rob...just letting others know.)

It is sad to admit but I think for most in America they view healthcare and coverage as a priveledge. I am sure for some of these folks who don't want reform they are thinking of why should they pay for other peoples expenses when those people can't survive the "proper" way in society to begin with.

When I was deathly ill I was finally taken care of at a General Hospital in San Francisco. This was no HMO PPO place. It was for the poor, criminals and uninsured.

I would be waiting in line to get my blood drawn while a felons were brought in wearing orange jump suits and handcuffs. They got to go first.

The waiting area was shared with homeless crack addicts who were jerking and yelling as they waited for their refill of methondone..or whatever it is.

I have lived through poor healthcare and healthcare that is for the poor. My health insurance at that hospital ended up being the poor peoples insurance provided by the city.

So I have to say that America needs to solve this healthcare problem by not just making it socialized but making sure that equality is present inside the hospitals.

Because I know how slow and stubborn hospitals and nurses can be I can only imagine that when these changes take present the transition period will be a nightmare for Doctors and patients alike.

All in all, it is this frame of mind that the priveldged deserve healthcare and the poor deserve to wait in long lines at dirty hospitals where no one gives a crap about you, needs to go away too.

In the meantime people are dieing and unable to pay for their pills because some idiots want to yell at other idiots in Town Hall meetings.

But I have to say I do feel hopeful with Obama in the seat. I just wish he would put his foot down and get this over with.

Tuttle said...

Hiya, Hitler!

Um, anyway, I actually think the US media and right-wing nutjobs in this instance have far out-distanced their Korean counterparts. The entire state of political discourse (well, you can't call it that, but there isn't a word for it) in the US makes the fire-extinguisher-lockout-thing look reasonable by comparison.

But more significant really is the fact the Korean healthcare (in my limited experience--which hopefully will remain that way) is actually pretty darn good, and very affordable. Yes, it is socialized, but private insurance is needed if you want to cover certain diagnoses, like cancer.

They have a pretty decent program here, though I can't say how well it would transfer to the States.

Roboseyo said...

That's one of the sticky things -- comparing the US to other countries like sweden, that are so much smaller, with much higher population density, is a bit apples and oranges. If there's a really great someodd specialist in Daejeon, nobody in Korea's too far removed from seeing him in a pinch, whereas having a great whatever specialist in Minnesota doesn't mean a whole lot for someone in dallas -- Canada's the same. The sheer size of the country makes serving everybody's needs a logistical nightmare.

John from Daejeon said...

Obama might make some inroads if he discontinued the billions in foreign aid raised by U.S. taxpayers and took care of some of the problems at home first. Israel is getting $30 billion in U.S. taxpayer money to mainly buy weapons with over the next 10 years. Something is seriously wrong inside the beltway with this type of flawed logic. Wouldn't that money be better spent at home educating college students by making higher education more affordable and retraining those without jobs, especially if they aren't going to spend it on health care or stabilizing social security for the long-haul?

Tamie said...

Thanks for the shout-out, friend, and well said in your post here. Love, love.