All the other rich democratic societies in the world have found cheaper and more effective ways to care for the sick and dying. Let me say that again because it’s true and may be worth repeating if you grew up believing the right answer is always, “U S A! We’re Number One!”
Every other rich democratic society in the world has found cheaper and more effective ways to care for their sick and dying.
This should chill the blood of American capitalists and inspire deep reflection. Our lack of access to affordable healthcare is a huge economic problem. It is also a troubling sign of our national character. [Read Jesus’ Good Samaritan parable now if you don’t already know it].
America’s peers in the global economy, our peers in democracy building, our peers in technology and innovation, all our modern international peers, understand their people will inevitably face a common problem – sickness and death. Our allies in rich democracies accept the simple truth that everybody gets sick and everybody dies. This universal aspect of everyday life inspired these nations to create universal healthcare systems, systems that are very effective and very affordable. I think these countries adopt national health plans because it expresses their sense of humanity and shows the nations power to help people live healthier, fuller lives. That is the point of civilization… right?
But in America…
Our babies die more often
Our bodies get fatter
Our bodies get shorter
Our lives end sooner
Our diseases become epidemics
Our economy groans under extreme medical bankruptcy
And we spend more for these poor health outcomes than any other nation!
What makes me so sad about this is that it does not have to be! There are better health care systems out there. Systems we can learn from and improve upon.
But until most Americans understand that access to effective and affordable health care is a basic human concern of our shared common good, and until we Americans realize a national health system helps our pursuit of happiness… without these basic understandings, I fear American civilization is morally stalled out. We let greed, fear, and willful ignorance win the day. We cannot as a people ignore the sick and dying and expect to progress. So I wait, anxious, agitated, and itching for more. Sure, I still vote, lobby, donate, and write music to share what I feel. But given our apparent lack of interest in proven solutions to health care… I think we Yanks are in for a long wait.
TIPS FOR PASSING TIME WHILE YOU WAIT FOR EFFECTIVE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL AMERICANS:
- Download and share OK Samaritan. It’s music about medical waiting rooms and wishing for a better healthcare system. Then shut off the music and stop waiting and wishing. Talk to your friends, family, and anyone who will hear you. Tell them you expect America care for it’s sick and dying without going morally and financially bankrupt.
- Watch the PBS documentary Sick Around The World to learn how smart democratic industrialized nations care for their sick and dying better than America. Democracy grows from personal learning and well-informed opinions.
- Ask every healthcare professional you meet if they are a member of Physicians for a National Health Program. If not, tell them to investigate and become a member. Remind your healthcare providers that the U.S. is way behind in major health outcomes and you want us to learn from the success of other nations who do it cheaper and better. If you feel silly doing this, remember you are paying more than most people in the world for the chance to chat up a health care professional. Why not take a second of that time you are paying for to tell them how America’s broken health care system effects you!
- Learn how America’s broken health care fails your neighbors, friends, and family. Great health care systems are rooted in empathy, equity, and access. (special note: If you read the item linked in the last sentence and you can’t think of a neighbor, friend, or family member affected by America’s gross health disparity, please spend more time with people who don’t look like you, talk like you, or shop like you).
Thank you for doing more than just listening!