Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Who In the World Are We?

That is the question that needs to be asked at this point. Are we a country so afraid of actually caring for its citizens that we will allow the Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins to block meaningful reform, condemning hundreds of thousands to death, and millions to misery? Are we more afraid of modest tax increases on the wealthiest one percent than we are for the lives of the poorest twenty percent? Do we want to place the profits of the health industries above the risk of bankruptcy to the 80% or more of our population that is at risk in the event of a medical catastrophe?

Scanning over the news these days, I'm afraid the answer to all of the above questions is "Yes."

At this point I see no realistic way to dissipate the fog of lies, innuendos, and rumor. The president is brown, therefore anything he proposes must be a ploy to destroy whites: ipso facto. One benefit to my learning from all the hullabaloo, though, is that it has motivated me to read articles comparing and contrasting how civilized countries manage their health care issues. There's a concise rundown in the Alaska Daily News today:
"For Native Americans or veterans, we're Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we're Germany. ... For people over 65, we're Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule.

"And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we're Burundi or Burma: In the world's poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can't pay stay sick or die."
It's been interesting to learn about the tremendous variety of systems advanced countries use to take care of their citizens, but so terribly sad to realize that the country I live in is no longer advanced or civilized. We have become a post-modern corporate-driven idiocracy. We inhabit the infrastucture-- social and physical-- painfully constructed by the efforts of past visionaries like Ted Kennedy, but we no longer have the will or sense to maintain it, let alone continue their efforts.

So my answer to the question in the title is "We are Terri Schiavo."

Pull the goddamn plug already.

1 comment:

Dean Wormer said...

I got a chance to talk to a middle aged couple who were visiting the states from Britain last year. They were surprised at the ridiculousness of the debate here. I got the feeling their politics were more conservative in general but health care in their minds didn't figure on the left/ right axiom.