Thursday, August 27, 2009

What is it about the S word (socialism) and how the US is screwing up its health care

What is it about the word socialism that upsets America so much that it can be used to poison even the sweetest well? I can understand peoples reaction if socialism were to be considered as a 'whole of government' idea - I'm not advocating the imposition of state run McDonalds managed according to the governments 5 year plan or anything. But rather why cant Americans accept the idea of "hey, maybe, with in the context of a generally consumerist economy some elements such as health and education might work better with government involvement" with the word "socialism" acting as a virtual veto on sane discussion.

This article - five myths about health care around the world - is excellent and should be required reading for all US legislators.

For what its worth, coming from Australia, having traveled a lot of the rest of the world and having lived in the US for a little while. And having read a lot of the literature on the topic four things are absolutely clear.

1. The US health system, for those who can access it, is very good.

2. Access to the US health system by US citizens is worse than just about all similar nations.

3. A number of countries however achieve far better health outcomes than the US.

4. All similar nations run their health system for far far less than the US runs theirs.

One could ask the question why do I care? After all, as an Australian this doesn't effect me. Actually it does. You see the health system is a very bad place to spend money. It sucks up capital, concentrates it into a very very small pool and distributes very little of that money make into the general economy. Therefore, every dollar you put into health, rather than say buying food, or building a school, or just about anything slows the economy. Right now, anything that slows the US economy is my problem. So you see, we in Australia, and Britain, and Canada etc have a right to care and have a right to speak out we see Americans avoiding the smart thing out of some primal urge to avoid the "S" word.

No comments:

Post a Comment