I’m not American so you might wonder what possible interest I have in their health care system?
Well, the debate that is raging just now seems to have spilled to this side of the pond with an explosion of love for the NHS which is a nice change. Sometimes you only realise what you have when someone else tells you that they’re OK with 46 million of their fellow citizens having no health care.
I like politics. I like to think about ideas and to talk them through with people I disagree with because it helps me to understand things.
Today has brought lots of thoughts and discussion on the health care debate in America through a Twitter conversation, a blog post and the most ridiculous news segment I’ve ever seen!
the Twitter conversation
I tweeted about my gratitude to the NHS for just some of the care that my family have received over the years. The 14o character limit meant I didn’t get beyond FREE… to mention ‘at the point of delivery’, a fact which Peter helpfully corrected for me.
But what happened next was more interesting. @Krisstea, a ‘devoted wife, mother and Conservative writer’ living in Georgia in the USA (who lists her website as Heritage.com) engaged me in conversation about health care reform in the States.
Apparently, the reason public health care was a bad idea is that America (and the UK) is full of ‘illegals’ and she doesn’t want to pay for their health care.
Aren’t immigration and health care two separate issues? I know one will have an impact on the other but making a decision based on that kind of logic seems to make no sense to me. You won’t fix health care by fixing immigration, but it might help reduce the strain. You won’t fix immigration by fixing health care but you might stop people dying. Following @Krisstea’s logic getting rid of illegals is more important than stopping people dying. That doesn’t make sense to me.
But perhaps it doesn’t have to make sense…
The Blog Post
Seth Godin writes about ‘willfully ignorant v aggressively skeptical‘ on his great blog. He doesn’t get into the health care debate, rather, he comments on how people aren’t having a discussion, they are screaming at people they disagree with.
The screaming is a key part, because screaming is often a tool used to balance out the lazy ignorance of someone parroting opposition to an idea that they don’t understand.
That seems to an outsider what’s going on. There must be some informed debate going on somewhere but it’s not making it to the news because someone screaming at a congressman is much better TV.
Then the ‘News’ segment
But then, who needs informed comment when you have Fox News??? Have a look at this stunning piece of ‘journalism’.
If this is the kind of racist, ill-informed garbage that people are getting instead of facts and reasoned discussion then what hope is there for the democratic process?
And don’t think that this is the only example of idiocy on the go…
As Mr Obama presented the US’s highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom, to Professor Hawking in a ceremony at the White House yesterday, Investor’s Business Daily declared the disabled scientist would not receive treatment under Britain’s health care system.
‘People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless’
Stephen Hawking IS British and says he owes his life to the NHS. Enough said.
There are two sides to this debate. The NHS isn’t by any means perfect but neither is a system that allows people to suffer and die because they can’t afford insurance. The only way this discussion will move forward is if people talk about the ISSUES rather than trying to scare people with the bogeymen of higher costs, illegals taking advantage and public health care being a recruiting ground for terrorists.
Come on America. You can do better than this.