There was a great Op-Ed piece in the NY Times back on August 26th by Nicholas Kristoff (he reference Wendell Potter who also appeared on Bill Moyers in July). I thought it was a very well written piece and was most struck by the last line (in reference to a health care fair for the uninsured at a county fairgrounds):
What’s un-American isn’t a greater government role in health care but an existing system in which Americans without insurance get health care, if at all, in livestock pens.
I’m doubtful that real health care reform (not just health insurance reform which is what it seems like they’re talking most about now) will take place anytime soon, but I hope at the very least that the world my children inherit from my generation will be one where anyone can receive health care without first deciding which bill not to pay (or which finger to keep). Maybe someday the United States will no longer have the dubious distinction of being the only industrialized nation without some form of universal health care (not forced health insurance – won’t that be a boon to the health insurance companies!). Or…as the AMSA puts it (rather aptly I might say):
The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not have some form of universal health care (defined as a basic guarantee of health care to all of its citizens). While other countries have declared health care to be a basic right, the United States treats health care as a privilege, only available to those who can afford it. In this sense, health care in America is treated as an economic good like a TV or VCR, not as a social or public good.