Germany has the oldest universal healthcare system, dating back to 1883. Currently, almost every developed nation in the world has some sort of socialized, universal health care system, except the United States. This is ironic, as the combined public and private spending on health care in the U.S. came to $8,233 per person in 2010, more than twice as much as relatively rich European countries such as France, Sweden and Britain that provide universal health care. And yet, the United States has fewer doctors, fewer hospital beds, and spends much more than other countries on diagnostic equipment and health tests, many of those tests considered unnecessary.
The Congressional Budget Office and other related agencies have calculated the cost of a national healthcare system repeatedly since 1991 and have always found that there would be a significant cost savings to creating such a system. So not only would the health care spending per capita drop, but every citizen would be insured. This idea seems the fair and logical course of action, and yet our government balks at providing such a system. The obstacles to creating such a system are not practical, but largely idealogical, as a large portion of the American leaders and population do not believe that all people are entitled to this basic level of care. In essence, many of our leaders come from the elitist position that only those who can pay for healthcare deserve it.
Now, this is a social justice issue. If you have explored the many pages of this website at all, you know that I am not a fan of the Western medical model, and I prefer to avoid traditional medical care if possible, opting in favor of alternative or complementary medicine when necessary. But there will always be emergencies which will necessitate the use of the most advanced medical care available, and that care should be available to everyone. Also, we support freedom of choice in all healthcare decisions, and if someone wants to avail themselves of traditional medical care, that is their right. A person should always have a choice about what care they get, and limiting someone's options just because you don't think they deserve it is a despicable position to take.
Hear that, Congress? You are despicable.
Article 25 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) reads:
"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control." We, the United States, signed off on this as a member of the U.N.
According to a 2007 CBS News/ New York Times poll, 64% of Americans believe that the government has a responsibility to ensure universal health care. So, that means that a startling 36% believe that people do not deserve healthcare.
To quote from the Republican Party Platform:
"We are the party of maximum economic freedom and the prosperity freedom makes possible. Prosperity is the product of self-discipline, work, savings, and investment by individual Americans, but it is not an end in itself. Prosperity provides the means by which individuals and families can maintain their independence from government, raise their children by their own values, practice their faith, and build communities of self-reliant neighbors. It is also the means by which the United States is able to assert global leadership."
First of all, REPUBLICANS, yes, I'm talking to you...the fact that we don't provide healthcare to all our citizens does not make us "global leaders" - it makes us the laughingstock of all the developed nations. The rest of the world can't understand why we care so little for our citizens that we won't provide them with this basic human right,
Also, when you are working two jobs to make ends meet and you still can't afford insurance, how are you going to have "savings and investment" which is apparently what your "prosperity" depends on? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 6.5 million people are working two jobs. And what about when you can't work because of illness or disability? Should those who can't work simply starve, or die because we can't afford healthcare?
What would give us "maximum economic freedom" would be to guarantee each person a basic level of income appropriate to meet all their living expenses. Universal Basic Income. Some countries are already doing it. Says Stephen Faris of Bloomberg.com,
"Philosophically, the idea has a long history, drawing support from the likes of the English-American revolutionary Thomas Paine and the economist Milton Friedman. Every European country except Italy and Greece has welfare programs designed to keep citizens out of poverty...The most generous program is Denmark’s, which gives its poorest citizens roughly $1,800 a month, enough to pull the destitute over the poverty threshold." Switzerland has their basic income measure on the ballot and should be voting on it within the next two or three years. Keep up with the news about the universal basic income HERE.
Republicans, You are the party of the strong. And you don't care one whit about the weak. Some of us can't do any better than we are now, and that's ok with you. You DON'T CARE if we have prosperity or not. You don't care if we live or die. I do not see how anyone with a conscience can be a member of the Republican Party. And those of you who claim to be Christians....you are giving your faith a bad name. Jesus said to help the poor, sick and weak. And you do NOTHING but kick us when we are down.
Oh, and Republicans...yes, I'm talking to you...we have government BY THE PEOPLE. When I "put government in the driver's seat" as you put it, I am putting MYSELF in the driver's seat. You talk about government like it is a dirty word. The truth is, you DON'T WANT "we the people" to be in charge. You want a few elitist leaders to be in charge. I support big government because I AM THAT GOVERNMENT. I pay my taxes to the government and I expect that government to WORK FOR ME. That means, the government is to provide for the basic needs of its citizens. Because I am paying for that out of my taxes, I have the right to expect benefit from those taxes.
As of this writing, Vermont has become the first state to pass legislation and offer a universal single payer system to their residents. I applaud them for their patriotism and simple human decency.