That US health care debate

22 Sep

I have been watching the to-ing and fro-ing and the mindless tossing out of epithets like “socialist”. I wish Obama luck, but he wouldn’t be the first to fall down in attempting genuine reform in US health care. One of greatest fears here in Oz during the Howard years was that we would end up lumbered with a US-style health care regime. Thank God it didn’t quite come to that. (Lately I have had to see both Dr C for my regular appointment and the Redfern doc for a yearly blood test. The current cold and a slight other complication may send me to the Redfern doc again in a day or two. Cost to me for physicians in the past few weeks: $00.00. Cost of medication: $7.50.

Noted today this Canadian Christian blogger: The Truth About Canadian Health Care.

Americans constantly ask me if the Canadian Health Care system is really that bad.

I chuckle.

Not only were our two children born here, we’ve also walked through the process of dying here (My first funeral in French was Martine’s uncle).

Each time we set up a same-day appointment with our family doctor, (with no out-of-pocket expense), we thank God that we live in a country with one of the best health care systems in the world…

US Conservatives: get over it!


Posted by on September 22, 2009 in America, right wing politics, USA


9 responses to “That US health care debate

  1. Kanani

    September 22, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Hi Neil, I’ve written extensively on this over on my blog. There is no comparison to the system they have in Australia over what will be put in place here. The difference is that the private healthcare insurance industry literally runs it all. They are even contracted by the government to run and provide the care for the elderly, poor and federal employees. The result? The HI gets the lion’s share of the money for their executives. It stinks.
    What Australia has to worry about is pressure and offers from Private insurers to manage things. Those extra 2 layers of bureaucracy pinch the quality of care.

  2. Kevin

    September 22, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    “Americans constantly ask me if the Canadian Health Care system is really that bad.

    I chuckle.”

    Spoken like a man who’s never had a family member with a seriously life-threatening illness. Look, I understand that foreigners want to badmouth America’s system of healthcare. You know, like you want to badmouth everything else that is America. We get it. We don’t care, but we get it. The simple fact remains that if you have a life-ending disease, you will live longer if treated by American doctors than by any other doctor on the planet. If you come here and get sick, we’ll prove it to you. Or you can just read the statistics.

    Oh, and those poor millions of people who simply can’t afford our high-priced insurance? Baloney. It sucks, but insurance always does. Buy some or don’t. It’s still totally up to you in America. For a while at least.

    Frankly, I’m a bit pissed (that means ‘angry’ in American) at you for supporting Obama’s idea to take away our freedom of choice as to whether each of us should have health insurance. Don’t Aussies favor freedom of choice?

  3. Martin

    September 22, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I was pleased (and a little surprised although I don’t study US politics) to notice that John Boehner, when asked if he considered Mr Obama a socialist said that he didn’t. I think both sides are beginning to look slightly more conciliatory over there so that’s a bit encouraging. I can’t wait to hear what “our Barack” has to say to the UN General Assembly on the various issues we all face internationally. He is very aptly named in my opinion even if the American people can’t see it for their current prejudices.

  4. Martin

    September 22, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    By the way, Neil, I would be interested to know your opinion on the Hans Kung work on Islam that we discussed briefly via comments several months ago. I found it quite illuminating in a theological/political/historical kind of way and would recommend it.

    I note you appear to have read a fair bit of Karen Armstrong. Kung is also quite good (for a Catholic theologian). He’s very much into trying to find points of agreement between Christianity and Islam while noting the points of integrity as well as the failings of practitioners of both religions. He also discusses Judaism in a similar way. He wrote three works including this one (one focused on each of the three religions) in what was intended to be a series that would promote interfaith understanding following 9/11. The Islam work really does that well despite what I see as an obvious bias in favour of the Catholic Christian message. He’s well known as something of a dissident in the Catholic church, of course, for a number of reasons, as I expect you know.

    Maybe Kevin would benefit from reading it as well. I’m a non-theist but I don’t have such a bias against one of those faiths in particular that he appears to have. My bias would be against certain practitioners of all of them but I also feel love rather than war can be the most potent force in this world for change. That brings me back to Barack Obama. He must have put me under some kind of spell with his brilliant style. His gifts appear really quite exceptional to me and I expect he will get the best health care possible for his people today.

  5. Martin

    September 22, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Also the current mandated health insurance idea appears to be one that ironically Republicans are today willing to consider as long as private health insurance companies are the only beneficiaries, Kevin. So much for the Republicans standing for freedom of choice against socialist Obama. Grumpy Martin signing off (I’m just going by the avatar I’ve been assigned – could that be changed at all?)

  6. Kevin

    September 23, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Haha, yours is grumpy, and mine is stunned :). I am unaware of any Republicans beyond the pseudo-Republican ladies from Maine who are willing to go along with the mandated insurance tax. If you know of others, I’d love to read about them Martin.

    I’m also curious as to why neither of you think that Obama’s healthcare plans are socialist. Heck, even Medicare and Medicaid are socialist plans, and this one goes far beyond either of those.

    Do we have a disagreement on what socialism means?

  7. Neil

    September 23, 2009 at 8:34 am

    You can’t get anything more “socialist” than US Military Health Care, Kevin — and what a good idea that is! Just a shame it — or something very like it — doesn’t extend to all citizens. Hard to imagine a better use for taxes after all.

    I suspect Australia and the USA, for all their similarities, have different ideas and traditions about freedom and the role of government. I am going to post on that soon.

    @ Martin: thanks for all your comments. I know of Hans Kung of course, but haven’t actually read him thus far. Surry Hills Library in the near future?

    I have changed the avatars — not sure it is an improvement turning you all into aliens though. 😉

  8. Martin

    September 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I should have umlauted his u. It’s at the Kings Cross branch at the moment, I think. I can’t give any examples now, Kevin, because I don’t have the time to look for any, but I’m sure, based on what I’ve seen of the debate, that it’s not a major leap for many Republicans. They mandate income tax and sales taxes after all and that goes to the evil government. Sometimes Republicans even are the evil government (and I really mean that). The US and Australia both have mixed economies so that makes us all socialists, I guess. I prefer being a happy alien to being a grumpy square so thanks for the avatar change, Neil.

  9. Kevin

    September 24, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Military healthcare, at least in the US, is part of the payment package of our great military men and women. It is payment for services rendered. That is capitalist, not socialist. And sadly, it is run by the government, so it’s nowhere near as comprehensive as private health insurance. I bet it’s not even any better than the social healthcare offered by Britain, Canada or your fine country.

    Well, I mean, our vets won’t have to wait months for a simple MRI or cat scan like they would in Canada or Britain, but other than that, it’s probably not a lot better. The simple fact is that the government runs anything and everything much less efficiently than anyone else, in every endeavor they are involved in. The reason for this should be obvious to anyone who studies human nature. There is no benefit to a government employee to be efficient. It’s not like they’re going to lose their job, at least not in America. And promotions are based upon seniority, not competence.

    No thanks. Keep them as far away from my health as possible.

    Martin, I can agree with you. There are some truly horrible Republicans who don’t take the idea of small government/limitless freedom seriously. It’s our job as Americans (if you’re an American) to weed them out and vote in their opponents. I was kinda-sorta hoping you had a list of the bad apples. Oh well 😦


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