Through the Looking Glass–Back from Vacation, the cruel joke of the health care debate

We traveled the past 5 weeks by auto and trailer to Alaska, not paying much attention to the health care debate. In a number of places however, we talked with people from overseas about health care and their perceptions of our non-system and the on-going debate.

Unanimously the Canadians and Europeans were bemused and appalled by the tenor of the republican and so called conservative attitudes. They don’t understand the the lying, half truths and the exaggeration that is tolerated in our discourse. Lastly they can’t comprehend the lack of efficiency in health care; our excessive costs; and the pervasive fear in our society of being able to pay for a doctor’s visit, much less the services one might need. This, in what once was the leader of the “free” world and the most dynamic efficient successful economy in the world.

Meanwhile, these overseas visitors are delighted with their own organized, government supported, health care systems. They are not complaining about access or costs.

It’s a fact that elsewhere:

Costs are half to two thirds those in the U.S.

Outcomes in their systems are as good, or better. Preventive health measures seems to have resulted in longer life expectancy and better maternal and child mobidity and mortality in many places

Drugs costs are much less

All are eligible for care, NO ONE is bankrupted by health care and none have a fear of the cost of becoming sick

Jobs are not held hostage to health care coverage

Medicynical note: Our conservative types don’t like inheritance taxes, calling them a “death tax.” But all of us ultimately will face a fatal illness. Paying for it will strip our “estates”, if we have them, of financial worth. Is this not another death tax, one that applies to all regarding of income; one in which the notion the inevitibility of death and going bust to pay for it are near certainties for most of us.

Shouldn’t we do better?

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