Jan. 7th, 2005

windelina: (lenore scowly)
The peerless investigative team of Donald Bartlett and James Steele reports in their new book, "Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business -- and Bad Medicine," one of our most enduring myths is that we have "world class health care."

"To be sure, it does offer the very best of care to some folks," they write. "It does offer world-class high-tech surgery and some space-age medical procedures. But these benefit 2 or 3 percent of the population at most, along with the richest citizens of other countries who come here for the highly specialized treatment. ... Many countries around the world take far better care of their people, achieve better results for their health care system and do it all with far fewer dollars. ... The statistics are even grimmer when life span is counted in years of healthy living. ... By this measure, the United States in 2002 ranked a distant 29th among the countries of the world, between Slovenia and Portugal."

***

I just have this tendency to NOT think we're the best country in the world, when so many other countries do various things better. Is any one country aces across the board? No. But this idea that we don't need to bother to fix things because "we're better than anyplace else" is just a fallacy. It's lazy. It's arrogant. It's selfish.

Let me be clear: If you have money, then this is the best country in the world. We won't bother to tax you, or make you follow the laws. You can safely spend your money on $5000 shoes without having to pay even lip service to social equality these days. You'll buy your stock in Wal-mart, which you just know will keep showing profitability because they're so good at keeping wages down.

Wake up people. We used to be great. There's a lot of potential here. But our greatness is leaking away. When it is okay to torture people - we're not great. America, "the defender of freedom" has for DECADES overthrown democratic regimes and put dictators in their place for business and political gains.

Ack.

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windelina

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