Monday, 27 March 2017

World’s richest country and it can’t even do health care. Sad!

Watching the Americans thrash about trying to put together a decent health care system prompts much head-shaking and eyeball-rolling. The Republicans have bitched and moaned about Obamacare for seven years, but in all that time haven't been able to come up with a plan they can agree on.

"It's complicated," wailed President Trump. But of course it isn't. It's a challenge every other advanced country mastered generations ago. All the Americans have to do is open their eyes to the variety of universal programs in effect in other countries and choose those elements that would create the best system for their purposes. The result could be a system that covered all their people and provided better outcomes, all at a much lower cost.

Universal, publicly-funded medical care is one of the finest social inventions in all of history, and our system is, along with the Charter, one of Canadians’ two most popular institutions.

One can only speculate about why our good neighbours to the south seem incapable of what we and every other modern nation has managed. Their failure is due in large part, certainly, to a hard core of market fundamentalists who still haven't forgiven FDR for his "socialism" and have never quit attempting to roll back the state to little more than the police and military. Their commitment to ideology is such that they have no qualms about sacrificing the peoples' health, or even lives, on the alter of dogma.

Not even the master of the art of the deal could get a new program past the Republican zealots. And considering what was on offer, it was just as well. Obamacare will now persist for the foreseeable future. It may be a third rate system, but it's still much better than anything that went before.


The Mound of Sound said...

There's no need to speculate, Bill. Look at the enormity of the private health care and health insurance lobbies and the amounts they contribute to America's "bought and paid for" Congress. Once you've worked your way through that have a read of the Gilens (Princeton) and Page (Northwestern) paper on democracy published by Princeton in 2014.

The paper is available here in PDF:

The BBC offers a decent summary here:

Put it all together and you've got the insurmountable mountain of special interest that true public healthcare advocates can never overcome.

Bill Longstaff said...

I am aware of that article, Mound. Indeed I have a summary from the New Yorker bookmarked ( It appears to provide sound academic support for the abundance of empirical evidence suggesting the U.S. is a plutocracy not a democracy.