According to truecostblog.com, 32 of the world’s leading nations have some form of universal health care, either single payer, two-tier or insurance mandate.
Of course, the United States is not on this list. It is estimated that some 32 million Americans have no health care, some 10 percent of the population. Single payer nations include Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Norway (since 1912), Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
In the two-tier category are Australia, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore. Insurance mandate countries include Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, South Korea and Switzerland. What makes all these countries so different from the U.S.?
Why can’t the U.S. have health care that matches the best that the rest of the civilized world provides?
Could it just be that our government has become so dysfunctional that our elected officials are incapable of coming together to find practical solutions which will benefit the entire populace? What is most probably true is that the health care provided to members of Congress, by itself, is so good that legislators couldn’t care less about providing something even sub-par to that to everyone else. It is also probably true that, if all the members of Congress were provided the same health care coverage as the average individual in this country, there would never be any question about keeping it solvent and available to everyone.
At the present time, Congress has the same health coverage as all other federal employees (subsidized by taxpayers). But, because the federal system is so large, insurance companies trip all over themselves to participate in the pool while a small employer may be able to offer only one plan to its employees. Federal employees inWashington, D.C.have 23 plans from which to choose.
However, Congress gets special treatment at Washington’s federal medical facilities and, for a few hundred dollars a month, access to their own pharmacy and doctors, nurses and medical technicians standing by in an office conveniently located between the House and Senate chambers, according to the L.A. Times. Of course, the base pay for a Congressman is $174,000, which means that a few hundred dollars a month for health insurance is a much smaller percentage to them than to someone making $50,000 a year.
Federal employees — including those elected to Congress — cannot be denied insurance due to pre- existing conditions. Just try that with a private insurer! The point is that healthcare in the U.S. is a dismal failure, except for Medicare and for those able to afford insurance. Millions of others go without health insurance and medical facilities are forced to pass costs of treating the uninsured along to those who are insured.
It is absolutely shameful that this country cannot find a reasonable solution to bring it into step with most other industrialized countries of the world who understand that universal health care is a good way to keep the populace healthy and productive. If Republicans would stop calumniating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by constantly referring to it as Obamacare, playing on the animosity that so many hold against our first black president, and spreading unfounded rumors about its provisions — such as death panels — and work in a cooperative manner in an otherwise divided and contentious Congress, perhaps the American people could join millions of others around the world in resting peacefully at night without having to worry about a health crisis which might lead to bankruptcy.