Thursday, August 06, 2009

Want to know the truth about Health Care in America?

By Dennis Rahkonen

Among world health care systems, the U.S. ranks 37th, just behind Costa Rica and slightly ahead of Cuba.

In such vital indicators as doctor-patient ratio, life expectancy, and infant mortality, we fall behind the rest of industrialized humanity, which long ago adopted universal coverage.

In embarrassing contrast, we're stuck with a broken, private-profit apparatus that places insurance/drug company/hospital bottom lines above properly serving an increasingly desperate populace.

We consequently live sickest and die youngest, getting inferior results for the most outlay, with skyrocketing administrative costs.

Almost 50 million of us have no medical insurance at all. Many more are saddled with exorbitant premiums for profiteering private plans characterized by high co-pays and deductibles, plus proliferating exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

Sure, things are great for the rich.

Most of us aren't well-heeled, though, and a sudden medical emergency -- together with worsening unemployment and the foreclosure crisis -- could leave us impoverished and homeless.

Dual-citizenship holders and others who've experienced both U.S. and Canadian or European health care first hand overwhelmingly prefer affordable, comprehensive, nationalized plans over our inadequate and expensive version.

They appreciate that the individual taxes that pay for it all are significantly lower than the cost of American private premiums.

Only fools would continue paying more for less, but that's what U.S. health care lobbyists, and their ever dutiful Republican servants, want us to perpetually be.

Foolish, sick, and broke...just so they can continue making a killing, while growing numbers of us can't afford to keep from dying.


Listen to the sound of children's laughter through your open summer window.

It goes without saying that we'd be shocked and horrified to abruptly learn that one of those kids had been brutally murdered by a stranger.

We'd feel the same way if it happened to any child in a nearby community or the general region.

After all, it's only the natural human response.

So why don't we get terribly upset when children in Afghanistan are blown to pieces, along with other civilian innocents, by the strangest of violent intruders, the Predator drones that suddenly unleash death from above on folks who almost never are the terrorists they're supposedly hunting for?

What accounts for the astonishing double standard?

Skin color, religion, propaganda demonization of "enemy" others?

Don't kids laugh and cry the same the world over?

Don't surviving parents and relatives feel identical agony when a frolicking boy or girl is killed?

That's a question we certainly didn't ask ourselves when atomic bombs vaporized thousands of children at play in a fiery instant in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945.

The murderous Shock and Awe of the Bush/Cheney Iraq aggression didn't do it, and we couldn't make the proper moral connection even when repeatedly seeing televised pictures of invading U.S. soldiers incessantly kicking down residential doors in Baghdad, the "standard operating procedure" by which our unlawful occupation will forever be remembered.

I guess it would take our own kids being terrorized at gun point by yelling, prodding, foreign troops to get our too-selective ethical indignation to assert itself.

And we quizzically wonder why we're hated by multitudes around the planet...


Somewhere in the values wasteland that lies between Bernie Madoff's ponzi parasitism and that Chicago cemetery's grave resale outrage is a stinking, fetidly gurgling point where no shred of allegiance to the Golden Rule can possibly survive.

It's the wickedly foul font of unmitigated capitalist greed.

Big Business and High Finance drink there, along with a sordid array of shiftless hucksters and vile scammers who've come to freely dominate our airwaves and email in-boxes.

So do the opportunistic producers of pop-culture depravity.

As does everyone who places personal profit, derived at any ethical cost, above public welfare and the common good.

It's the watering hole of the war profiteer, the insurance bilker, the loan shark, the drug dealer, the boss who won't offer his workers a fair wage, and every cretin who would shamelessly shaft someone else to make a quick buck.

It's the locus around which far too much (fatally much?) of our society clamoringly gathers.

In the middle distance, meanwhile, one can faintly hear the sound of Jesus weeping...