As someone who would love to see every American covered by some form of substantive and affordable health care insurance--one that doesn't result in the majority of personal bankruptcies year-to-year--I often ask myself What good is having "the best health care system in the world," when its priced out of reach for most people?
We love telling ourselves that we Americans are the "best" at innovation. Yet, when it comes to innovating a new way to cover all Americans, it's in this area that we suddenly "recognize" our apparent limitations. All of a sudden, after years of irresponsible spending on senseless military actions, pork barrel-spending, and constituent-supported tax-cuts, we worry about paying for a program, one whose need cannot be challenged.
Its our American arrogance which leads us to believe that we can't learn anything else from other countries when it comes to addressing the issue of health care coverage. Back in March of this year, CBS's Sunday Morning presented an illustration of how the French (yes, those "French"...the country that often finds itself the butt of American television late night comedians and of patriotic sitcom leads) deal with the high cost of health care treatment.
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The French penchant for choking at times of conflict notwithstanding, give them credit for having the bravery to at least try to implement a way of addressing the need for health care for its citizens. It's easy to oppose universal health care or universally affordable health insurance while spouting pro-Free Market patriotic rhetoric when one can afford to pay his or her medical bills. But given the choice between potential financial ruin, and embracing the ideological rhetoric of those opposed to any form of universal health care, I'll wager that many Americans who can't afford health care coverage would gladly opt for a system of "Socialized" medicine similar to that which the French use.
We're not going to get out of addressing the rising cost of health care, nor are we going avoid trying to provide coverage for all Americans without spending any money. We are going to pay to cover our fellow uninsured Americans, whether through higher premiums, higher taxes, or higher service fees, all to cover charity care for the uninsured. It's time we got real and stop falling back on baseless fears of a "Socialism" Boogey Man.