15 August 2009

'Socialized' Medicine : It Works all Over the World

British Conservative leader David Cameron, certainly no "socialist," calls the National Health Service (NHS), "one of the wonderful things about living in (England)."
[The Republicans have] told so many lies about the government health care in other countries, that some of those countries are starting to get angry.
By Ted McLaughlin / The Rag Blog / August 16, 2009

As the health care reform debate heats up, we've heard all sorts of ridiculous things from the Republicans and right-wingers about "socialized medicine" -- the name they give to the government-run health care systems adopted by almost all industrialized countries. They call it "evil" and tell all kind of horror stories about how bad it is.

In fact, they've told so many lies about the government health care in other countries, that some of those countries are starting to get angry. When the right-wing put Canadian Shana Holmes on American TV to lie about the Canadian system, tens of thousands of Canadians were incensed, and let it be known they don't appreciate Americans lying and spreading falsehoods about their system.

The English are starting to react also. They have started a Twitter group expressing pride in their National Health System (NHS), and tens of thousands of people have expressed their support for the NHS. Prime Minister Gordon Brown even joined the fray, twittering, "PM: NHS often makes the difference between pain and comfort, despair and hope, life and death. Thanks for always being there." His wife then added, "#welovetheNHS -- more than words can say."

An American business magazine recently said under the British system, scientist Stephen Hawking would be dead. Evidently they didn't know he was born and lived all his life in Great Britain. Hawking himself says, "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."

You might say those are the liberal views, but what do the conservatives think? Well, here's what Conservative Party leader David Cameron has to say, "Millions of people are grateful for the care they have received from the NHS -- including my own family. One of the wonderful things about living in this country is that the moment you're injured or fall ill -- no matter who you are, where you are from, or how much money you've got -- you know that the NHS will look after you."

In Canada, Great Britain, France, Sweden and most other industrialized nations, the people like their "socialist" health care that gives all citizens decent health care. Some politicians might like to tweak the system to make it even better, but none would dare suggest doing away with it and going to a system like ours. If they did, they'd be voted out of power in a heartbeat (and they know it).

That poses a question. Since all of these countries love their government-run systems that covers all their citizens, and most Americans agree that our own system is badly broken, why is health care reform so difficult in America? Why are we so sure none of the systems used by other nations would not work here? And why are we so terrified of the word "socialism" -- especially since most Americans don't even know what it is?

MediCare is socialist, and it has done a pretty good job of providing health care for our elderly. The fact is that there are some things government can do better than private industry (regardless of what Republicans may tell you).

Would you want the police or military to be private and only work for those who can pay? How about the fire department -- should they let your house burn because you can't meet their profit expectations? The same is true of health care. The government can eliminate the profit and the overhead and provide cheaper and better health insurance. That's a fact even the private companies recognize (which is why they're fighting it so hard).

Government-run health insurance is not evil. It's just the fairest and least expensive way to give all citizens decent health care. And that's what we should be trying to do.

[Rag Blog contributor Ted McLaughlin also posts at jobsanger, an excellent Texas political blog.]

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