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October 15, 2005 12:48 PM   Subscribe

UN Hits Back at US in Report Saying Parts of America are as Poor as Third World Parts of the United States are as poor as the Third World, according to a shocking United Nations report on global inequality.
posted by zouhair (95 comments total)

 
I don't think any UN agencies have used the term "Third World" for at least 15 years.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:02 PM on October 15, 2005


Um, perhaps you should link to the individual post instead of just the blog?
posted by anarcation at 1:04 PM on October 15, 2005


Yeah, we're getting more like Rome before the fall or pre-revolutionary France.

Reminds me of the FDR quote:
"Ninety percent of our people live on salary or wages, ten percent on profits alone....People in this country whose income is less than two thousand a year, buy more than two-thirds of all goods sold....If these people are not assured of an income, the goods produced cannot be sold."


Or MLK:
"A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." . . . A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
...Of course someone killed him...
posted by Smedleyman at 1:09 PM on October 15, 2005


So $0 = $0 no matter where you live, huh? Thanks, U.N. In other news, water just as wet in some parts of U.S. as it is in the third world...
posted by ChasFile at 1:12 PM on October 15, 2005


Yeah...shocking.
posted by RockCorpse at 1:12 PM on October 15, 2005


this seems to be the relevant document - page 58, the "Inequality and health in the United States" box.
posted by funambulist at 1:18 PM on October 15, 2005


Here's what is says:

The United States leads the world in healthcare spending. On a per capita basis the United States spends twice the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average on healthcare, or 13% of national income. Yet some countries that spend substantially less than the United States have healthier populations. US public health indicators are marred by deep inequalities linked to income, health insurance coverage, race, ethnicity, geography and—critically—access to care.

Key US health indicators are far below those that might be anticipated on the basis of national wealth. Infant mortality trends are especially troublesome. Since 2000 a half century of sustained decline in infant death rates first slowed and then reversed. The infant mortality rate is now higher for the United States than for many other industrial countries. Malaysia—a country with an average income one-quarter that of the United States— has achieved the same infant mortality rate as the United States (figure 1). And the Indian state of Kerala has an urban infant death rate lower than that for African Americans in Washington, DC. Wide differences in health across socio-economic groups partly explain the poorer health outcomes in the United States than in other industrial countries. From the cradle to the grave the health of US citizens shows extreme divergence. For example, racial and ethnic health disparities are persistent—a result of differences in insurance coverage, income, language and education, among other factors (figure 2). African American mothers are twice as likely as white mothers to give birth to a low birthweight baby. Their children are twice as likely to die before their first birthday. Income differences are closely correlated with health differences. A baby boy from a family in the top 5% of the US income distribution will enjoy a life span 25% longer than a boy born in the bottom 5%.

Many factors contribute to health inequalities. One important driver is the coverage of healthcare provision. The United States is the only wealthy country with no universal health insurance system. Its mix of employer-based private insurance and public coverage has never reached all Americans. While more than half the population have health insurance coverage through their employers and almost all the elderly are covered through Medicare, more than one in six non-elderly Americans (45 million) lacked health insurance in 2003. Over a third (36%) of families living below the poverty line are uninsured. Hispanic Americans (34%) are more than twice as likely to be uninsured as white Americans (13%), and 21% of African Americans have no health insurance. Health insurance coverage also varies widely across the 50 states, depending on the share of families with low incomes, the nature of employment and the breadth of each state’s Medicaid programme for low-income people.

More than in any other major industrial country the cost of treatment is a major barrier to access in the United States. Over 40% of the uninsured do not have a regular place to receive medical treatment when they are sick, and more than a third say that they or someone in their family went without needed medical care, including recommended treatments or prescription drugs, in the last year because of cost.

Unequal access to healthcare has clear links to health outcomes. The uninsured are less likely to have regular outpatient care, so they are more likely to be hospitalized for avoidable health problems. Once in a hospital, they receive fewer services and are more likely to die than are insured patients. They also receive less preventive care. The Institute of Medicine estimates that at least 18,000 Americans die prematurely each year solely because they lack health insurance. Being born into an uninsured household increases the probability of death before age 1 by about 50%.

Unequal access to healthcare has a powerful effect on health inequalities linked to race, which are only partly explained by insurance and income inequalities. One study finds that eliminating the gap in healthcare between African Americans and white Americans would save nearly 85,000 lives a year. To put this figure in context, technological improvements in medicine save about 20,000 lives a year.

The comparison highlights a paradox at the heart of the US health system. High levels of personal healthcare spending reflect the country’s cutting-edge medical technology and treatment. Yet social inequalities, interacting with inequalities in health financing, limit the reach of medical advance.

Source: Rowland and Hoffman 2005; Proctor and Dalaker 2003; Munnell, Hatch and Lee 2004; The Henry Kaiser Family Foundation 2005; Deaton 2002.
posted by funambulist at 1:19 PM on October 15, 2005


Rome before the fall

You said it, baby. Let's see... where was all the good real estate after the fall of Rome? Best places to live? Most fall-proof industries? I think it's time to start getting ready for all that as the Big Change comes down.
posted by scarabic at 1:30 PM on October 15, 2005


IN reverse order:

Most fall-proof industries?

Viking boat shipyards

Best places to live?

Inland
posted by y2karl at 1:46 PM on October 15, 2005


where was all the good real estate after the fall of Rome?

On fortified hilltops with good walls and good wells.
posted by y2karl at 1:48 PM on October 15, 2005


Let them eat cake freedom!
posted by scody at 2:19 PM on October 15, 2005


We've still another century or so of being a republic, then followed by another three or so centuries of rule by Emperors before the United States falls. So take your time. :)
posted by Atreides at 2:22 PM on October 15, 2005


"Hits back"?

Yeah, that petty, petty U.N..
posted by dreamsign at 2:32 PM on October 15, 2005


Isn't this a double? I remember posting this on my own blog a while back, and I'm pretty sure I got it from here. I'm thinking of renaming my site "metafilterfilter."
posted by blendor at 2:34 PM on October 15, 2005


When do we get the orgies and the bloodsports?
posted by ColdChef at 2:35 PM on October 15, 2005


Scratch my previous statement. In a rare showing, I received my information 2nd rather than 3rd hand. Here's my entry from Sep. 8 with quotes and links to the NPR story, if any are interested.
posted by blendor at 2:51 PM on October 15, 2005


So $0 = $0 no matter where you live, huh?

Yet gradiants can be difficult to maintain, as they present forms of potential energy. So I would recommend as your talking point, instead of the relative wetnesses of waters, something about how domestic sympathizers are rallying to the cause of foreign critics, who seek to hit the US.

Personally I think more along the lines that "money ain't a thing" and that the economic system is periodically used as a tool of oppression or cultural engineering. We aren't a socialism, but to say that governmental agents aren't instrumental in dividing people into classes, that's being blind.
posted by nervousfritz at 2:52 PM on October 15, 2005


When do we get the orgies and the bloodsports?

Orgies and Bloodsport?

(Yeah, these area really lame choices but I don't watch TV other than hockey so I'm completely clueless)
posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:01 PM on October 15, 2005


Yeah you're right anarcation :(
posted by zouhair at 3:26 PM on October 15, 2005


This certainly seems like an oversell of a very salient point. The UN report specifically addresses healthcare inequality, and says little about US poverty in general. I seriously don't see where the UN says anything like the claim in the headline.

The blog is probably correct that this must be seen in the political matrix of the tussle over the Millennium Development Goals, which the US has been trying to gut.

And yes, the UN term of art today is "developing countries".

The United States actually falls in the middle of the inequality index -- 40.8 (see p. 55 of the PDF) -- which is behind Vietnam but ahead of China, and only slightly worse than the United Kingdom. Countries such as Albania and Ethiopia have very low inequality approaching that of Sweden, but that must simply reflect the lack of an industrialized middle class. This is not necessarily that insightful of an index.
posted by dhartung at 3:28 PM on October 15, 2005


This certainly seems like an oversell of a very salient point. The UN report specifically addresses healthcare inequality, and says little about US poverty in general. I seriously don't see where the UN says anything like the claim in the headline.

Exactly, besides, it's only one page in a 72-page report about inequality and healthcare, instead the article makes it sound as if the UN specifically aimed the study at the US and with the specific intention of "angering" the administration, as if... It's not the first time an analysis like this is published. The US stands out among wealthiest nations because of that level of inequality. The report had the job of pointing out inequalities. The article is a bit too much sexing up, of the kind that provides the perfect excuse for those already so inclined to dismiss the data altogether.

(a bit like with the Lancet study on Iraqi casualties and the headlines that extrapolated incorrectly from it)
posted by funambulist at 3:56 PM on October 15, 2005


America falling ?

Hmm I doubt it, if only the people of America wakes and claim his rights!

I've just seen "The Cinderella Man" and see what kind of ethical code it try to make people follow :

You're jobless, your babies are starving and getting cold, You get humiliated to get electricity back home, you beg for a hard and underpayed work; no problem your country will help you, come in line and will give you some money to spare for some weeks; and if you're a good man stay up straight and fight and if you handle it gave the money back, that's the way it should be and the way it is. That's how good people are.

That kind of ideology make me sick! What's the point then to create states and countries without the minimum "SOLIDARITY" between it's members?
posted by zouhair at 3:57 PM on October 15, 2005


(not that this report is anywhere as significant as that Lancet report)
posted by funambulist at 3:58 PM on October 15, 2005


dhartung, funambulist

what you just sayed made just more sick about all this.

This is not JUST NUMBERS this is PEOPLE with children and family to take care of. THESE ARE PEOPLE DYING and PEOPLE CRYING. The numbers are here just to tell us be aware.

A one guy dying is too much.

The USA are so wealthy it should be no avoidable death or disease for its people. THERE IS NO EXCUSES FOR THAT.

The point is that America want (and is on its way) to "offer" this kind of policy to all humanity, and that's what bothers me!!
posted by zouhair at 4:05 PM on October 15, 2005


Smedleyman, thanks for the Martin Luther King quote, just the thing I was looking for.
posted by Laotic at 4:13 PM on October 15, 2005


Oh yeah forgot to thanks Smedleyman !

Nice quote, as things did not change since he sayed it :(
posted by zouhair at 4:17 PM on October 15, 2005


zouhair, don't misunderstand me, I was commenting on the tone of the article, not trying to dismiss the contents of the report, quite the opposite in fact. It is so obviously absurd that there are so many people without health care in the wealthiest nation on earth. There's no denying that.
posted by funambulist at 4:22 PM on October 15, 2005


funambulist
sorry for misunderstand you, but all this makes me really sick, and I don't understand americans, what they are waiting to take care of that ??
posted by zouhair at 4:56 PM on October 15, 2005


The real absurdity is that the report seems to say America's healthcare system costs more than universal healthcare yet offers less coverage.

Speaking on behalf of the rest of the world, why do you put up with this?
posted by fullerine at 5:02 PM on October 15, 2005


Speaking on behalf of the rest of the world, why do you put up with this?

Wait - we have it on good authority that "America's healthcare system is the envy of the world."

Or maybe the world he was referring to was Mars.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:56 PM on October 15, 2005


Wait - we have it on good authority that "America's healthcare system is the envy of the world."

Or maybe the world he was referring to was Mars.


LOOOOOL Nice joke Kirth
posted by zouhair at 6:01 PM on October 15, 2005


Laotic, Dr King also said, "of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

and frankly I cannot think of anything more savage, in a so-called civilized society, than the decision to let the poorer members of society like roaches when the richer can save their lives because they have the funds to purchase the necessary health care

the idea of having the community (ie, the government) pick up the health care check has taken root in all the industrialized world, except in one country. the same country, by the way, whose health care costs are skyrocketing year after year after year
posted by matteo at 6:28 PM on October 15, 2005


fullerine:

two reasons: the american dream; and the cold war.

The american dream was the idea that anyone, regardless of background, could make their way to the top of the heap. This improvement in opportunity was one of the U.S's best contributions to the world, and it changed the world greatly. But gradually it stopped being about opportunity and became about protecting wealth and the "right" to increase it. Even the poorest people in the U.S. fervently protect wealth, and vigorously resist any idea of requiring the wealthy to support the society that enables the creation of that wealth, because of the dream that they may someday join the wealthy by working hard or having a great idea. And while dreaming that dream, the idea that you would have to share the wealth acquired from your hard work or great idea with society is anathema.

During the cold war, Americans deeply programmed themselves that everything about their enemy, Russia, was evil. This included socialism. A lot of evil was done in the name of marxism & socialism in communist Russia, and even among educated Americans it is widely believed that socialism is therefore inherently evil.

For these two reasons, American society has fallen behind the rest of the West -- who have generally developed societies that combine opportunity/freedom with socialism -- on many social metrics, notably: average health, crime rates, level of violence, suicide rates, life expectancy, social mobility, average education level, reported sense of wellbeing, etc.
posted by lastobelus at 6:58 PM on October 15, 2005


Nicely sayed lastobelus, but in which century gonna the americans wake ?
posted by zouhair at 7:20 PM on October 15, 2005


Some of us are already awake, but we are greatly and tragically outnumbered.

The bulk of the rest won't wake up until huge swaths of the middle class are unable to afford health coverage. As it is, premiums, especially for a family, are through the roof for those lucky enough to even have coverage available. And premiums are rising insanely every year. I think the rate of growth is in the double digits or something. The pressure is increasing but it will be awhile yet before we get any serious momentum for change among average Americans.
posted by beth at 7:26 PM on October 15, 2005


Beth

That what is sad, so they gonna stand for their right when its gonna be too late and that mean more blood :( very sad
posted by zouhair at 7:38 PM on October 15, 2005


IN reverse order:

Most fall-proof industries?

Viking boat shipyards

Best places to live?

Inland
posted by y2karl at 1:46 PM PST on October 15 [!]


I hate to diasgree (especially with a comment that made me laugh), but the Vikings attacks came a few hundred years after the fall of Rome (circa 900 rather than circa 410). The Roman empire was threatened by invasion by other groups, particularly the various Goths. Inland wasn't safer from them - I believe they themselves were fleeing the Huns who were coming over the steppes from Asia. The most fall-proof industries were weapons making, and fortress construction, and the best place to live was Constantinople.

No, the report isn't as damning as the article or post imply. But I do find many well-educated Americans who nonetheless labour under the delusion that they have a well-functioning health care system. Of course, as most were white and middle class, the system probably did function well for them. Last time I checked, apartheid regimes work well for the high status people too. Should they ever be poor - or even just self-employed - they would realise what a terrible system it is.
posted by jb at 7:45 PM on October 15, 2005


The real absurdity is that the report seems to say America's healthcare system costs more than universal healthcare yet offers less coverage.

Speaking on behalf of the rest of the world, why do you put up with this?


Perhaps you should can the self-righteousness and thank the citizens of the United States for bearing the brunt of the pharma industry's price discrimination while the ROW gobbles up the meds at near-marginal cost.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:54 PM on October 15, 2005


Speaking on behalf of the rest of the world, why do you put up with this?

Through what institutions do you suggest working people express their discontent with the state of American society? What mass organziation exists in the US that expresses any real defense of working class interests?

The Democrats?
Labor unions?
The AARP?
Media outlets?
posted by Charlie Bucket at 8:38 PM on October 15, 2005


Where is the UNIONS ?
posted by zouhair at 8:47 PM on October 15, 2005


Kwantsar writes 'ROW '

"Rest Of the World"? You have an acronym for 95% of humanity?
Would hubris be the appropriate word, here?
posted by signal at 8:49 PM on October 15, 2005


The real absurdity is that the report seems to say America's healthcare system costs more than universal healthcare yet offers less coverage. Speaking on behalf of the rest of the world, why do you put up with this?

Because when Americans think "great healthcare system" they don't think "system that keeps people healthy at a reasonable cost." They think "system that has the best doctors, the best facilities, the best technology that money can buy." They think that the fact that people come here for rare, expensive, difficult medical procedures means "our" system is the best. (Not thinking that "our" doesn't include "me" unless I can afford to pay for it.)
posted by straight at 8:53 PM on October 15, 2005


Perhaps you should can the self-righteousness and thank the citizens of the United States for bearing the brunt of the pharma industry's price discrimination while the ROW gobbles up the meds at near-marginal cost.

So, those 18,000 Americans died so the world could have Viagra and Lipitor? Are you saying that 18,000 Americans need to die each year or there will be no new drugs, or that it's the fault of the pharmaceuticals that they died, because they're charging too much for drugs? In which case, is there any way to have drugs and fewer dead Americans? I personally don't want thanks for being a martyr to drug development costs..I want a better setup.

And that PDF you linked is 125 pages long...care to excerpt the relevant bits?
posted by emjaybee at 8:58 PM on October 15, 2005


Sorry to interupt your little socialist circle jerk; but speaking as someone who pays their own insurance premium, when did my health or health care become your concern?

This sense of entitlement enrages me. Why does anyone diserve anything from me simply because she was born in the same locale? To what end will I have to pay for this persons life? I cloth her with welfare, I board her with projects, I feed her with food stamps. How much of my livelihood is everyone else entitled to? At what point to I become a slave to the "society" I live in?

I know this sounds harsh, I am sorry. I am not my sister's keeper.
posted by CCK at 9:04 PM on October 15, 2005


The unions have collapsed. Today, unions regularly fail to express even a measure of solidarity – witness the IAM and the AAPA crossing picket lines in the Northwest Airlines strike.

Unions shamelessly sell out their workers to preserve their power. The UAW makes more money from investments than from collecting dues. What incentive do they have to take action on behalf of their membership?

Even when unions take a stance on anything they are confined by their nationalist orientation and their permanent alliance with the Democratic Party.

May I quote from David North:
One might say the American trade union movement has completed a perverse historical experiment, testing the possibility of constructing a labor movement on the basis of hostility to socialism and defense of the profit system. Today, fifty years after the founding of the AFL-CIO on the basis of Cold War anti-communism, history has rendered its unequivocal judgment: a resounding “no.”
posted by Charlie Bucket at 9:07 PM on October 15, 2005


CCK :

It's a very dangerous thoughts of yours.

What is the purpose for reating countries and societies ??

If no solidarity at the point I don't know why we need countries, they will be more problems than anything else and better get rid of them.

But no we can't, because human are "social" animal, we can't live by ourselves.

For example : You have a lot of money and you build a factory, you need workers, ok here are the workers, they work so you owe them money (for their labor), the question is : do they owe more than money ? if you answer NO you missed all the point ! And that is very sad, and I understand now why the US became BARRICADES.
posted by zouhair at 9:19 PM on October 15, 2005


I owe no one anything. I trade my labor for money, I use my money to trade for products which are made from other's labor. I deal with others based on mutal consent. How could I possible owe more?
posted by CCK at 9:25 PM on October 15, 2005


"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. "
posted by CCK at 9:42 PM on October 15, 2005


CCK : you just forgot one word : HUMANITY

and don't think you can pay for your Insurance all times and I don't talk about your children. By the way get rid of them too, they do not give you nothing, throw them away!
posted by zouhair at 10:01 PM on October 15, 2005


"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. "

That is especialy primitive conception of life (A bacteria think better than that)!!

I can't stand read that from someone from a country that claim her HIGHNESS.
posted by zouhair at 10:04 PM on October 15, 2005


CCK,

You do not in fact trade your labor for money. If you sold your labor for an equivalent amount of money, how would the buyer of your labor create a profit? By raising prices?
What they actually sell to the capitalist for money is their labour-power. This labour-power the capitalist buys for a day, a week, a month, etc. And after he has bought it, he uses it up by letting the worker labour during the stipulated time. With the same amount of money with which the capitalist has bought their labour-power (for example, with two shillings) he could have bought a certain amount of sugar or of any other commodity. The two shillings with which he bought 20 pounds of sugar is the price of the 20 pounds of sugar. The two shillings with which he bought 12 hours' use of labour-power, is the price of 12 hours' labour. Labour-power, then, is a commodity, no more, no less so than is the sugar. The first is measured by the clock, the other by the scales.

-Karl Marx, Wage Labor and Capital

In doing so, you create surplus value. You sell an employer your capacity to labor for, say, 40 hours a week. He recovers that cost in the first 10 hours you work. The remainder, after rent, raw materials, and other expenses, is surplus value.

It would likely take the reposting of the entirety of the above work (which actually isn't too long for you to read.) to explain why this means that capitalism is a social relationship.

At the very least you need to realize that the complex systems that feed, clothe and educate us are inherently social, would be impossible if capitalism were merely "trade." But of course, as capitalism rapidly fails to serve even these basic needs for the majority of the world's population, we are bound to hear such rehashings of Thatcher's "There is no society" as a way to defend it's breakdown.
posted by Charlie Bucket at 10:09 PM on October 15, 2005


The real absurdity is that the report seems to say America's healthcare system costs more than universal healthcare yet offers less coverage.

It covers a smaller proportion of the population. People with health insurance are generally very well covered.

Speaking on behalf of the rest of the world, why do you put up with this?

Assuming you mean that as a serious request for information, and not as an "Oh my God you people are troglodytes" snark:

It's not a really major issue for most people because the overwhelming majority of us have very good health care coverage already through our employers. While some of us, me included, would rather move to some manner of single-payer or similar system, other people worry that the coverage they get under a nationalized scheme won't be as good as they have now. Also, people without health insurance tend to be young, poor, uneducated, or a combination thereof -- also the people least likely to vote. Or illegal aliens (8--20M, between a quarter and half of those uninsured), who can't vote period.

Sometime, and probably sooner rather than later, large manufacturing and service corporations are going to start applying serious pressure for national health care. From their point of view, it would reduce or moderate their expenses, and it would shunt discussions or problems with health care off of their plate and onto the State's.

CCK is best left ignored, as arguing with (apparent) objectivists is about as fruitful as arguing with a parrot, or a brick wall. I just find it amusing that someone would quote Cain as if approving of his argument, in the same way that politicians using "Born in the USA" as a campaign song is funny.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:17 PM on October 15, 2005


CCK: The point of having a society is to ensure the survival of its members. That can be done in a number of ways, trade seemingly being your preferred option.

However, if participation in society doesn't benefit a certain group, then it is not in that group's interest to participate in society.

If a group is actively harmed by participating in society, then it is in that group's interest to seek to leave society - e.g. not obey society's laws nor contribute to its causes.

That's a very, very dangerous situation.
posted by spazzm at 10:19 PM on October 15, 2005


CCK, surely you agree it is necessary for us all to pay some fraction of our income to ensure we live in a safe and prosperous society? Or do you want to live in a completely Darwinian wild west scenario? So given that we have to pay something to keep things running, it's a question of details, how much and for what. You can argue about that, but not go off on a rant about no owing anyone anything. You owe something to society in order to enjoy living in this place where you are safe and free to engage in trade etc.
posted by snoktruix at 10:22 PM on October 15, 2005


CCK: not that harsh. Check back in a 10 years when Europe has adopted a more American vision of healthcare. Or, colapsed into bankruptcy.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:39 PM on October 15, 2005


CCK isn't bad, he's just an excellent indication of how effective the brainwashing that so many americans have been exposed to over the last 50 years telling them that poverty is a sign of moral weakness. American 'individualism' is an effective tool for driving people apart and pitting thme against one another. It's very sad to think that one can hold his nose high while his neighbour starves thanks to the system he defends so righteously.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:43 PM on October 15, 2005


Right, for example universal healthcare is really killing Sweden's economy...
posted by snoktruix at 10:48 PM on October 15, 2005


Sigh, since we're all feeding the cck troll, I would just like to point out his initial fallacy, that by paying his premiums, no one else benefits but him. Insurance, cck, works when a pool of people pay their premiums--and not everyone in that pool gets benefits equivalent to what they pay in. Some get less, some get more, the idea being, that a pool spreads out the risk. The appeal being, most people can not afford to pay for their catastrophic health needs out of pocket all at once, should they arise--so they have insurance.

So if you are paying a premium to an insurance company, you are already not a lone rugged capitalist standing tall--your money is at this very moment paying for someone's health care who hasn't paid in as much as you did. And were you to go to the hospital the day after your insurance became effective, well by gum, you'd be getting services you hadn't yet paid for...and if it were a truly spectacular illness, services you might never technically pay the full cost for.

If you were truly the good Randite you claim to be, you wouldn't have insurance at all. You'd pay out of pocket or else accept your fate and die miserably because if you can't afford it, you don't deserve it.

Govt-run healthcare just changes the size of the pool and who's paying in, and a very small group of people who may not pay in at all. But it's the same basic concept.
posted by emjaybee at 11:04 PM on October 15, 2005


Did someone here really quote Karl Marx as if he put forth any sensible economic theories? Marx's ideology has ruined more lives than Hitler's.
posted by b_thinky at 11:44 PM on October 15, 2005


emjaybee: CCK was expounding the virtues of voluntary contract. Presumably insurance is still a voluntary contract.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 12:35 AM on October 16, 2005


Marx's ideology has ruined more lives than Hitler's

HA HA HA HA!
Hell, I thought I was going to die gloriously, my K-bar wrist deep in some Spaz-nuts (spetsialnogo naznacheniya) guts. I thought I'd die fighting the Communists and I had a big hard-on thinking about it and even I think that's funny.

Some men write, some act. One of the foremost concepts in the foremost document that is the foundation for this country (I'm currently in the USA) says that writing is ok.

No offense. I get the sentiment, I like anyone who can lay on the hyperbole thicker than I do.

--
Hate to feed the troll(s) but that FDR quote was in anticipation of that.

Unless folks make a decent chunk of change, they're not going to buy stuff. I'm no economist, but as I see it, you make something and sell it. If you have all the stuff, no one can trade with you.

Why does anyone diserve anything from me simply because she was born in the same locale?...At what point to I become a slave to the "society" I live in?

I was hired by a multi-national to do some security consulting in anticipation of Y2K.
They were hemming & hawwing over one of their facilities in a cold somewhat remote location and were worried about looters when the power went out.
One of the problems was that although they had backup generators to close bay doors and the like, they were worried about the human element.
Specifically: employees who might let looters in.
There were some ideas bandied around.
"You employ people from this village?" I asked.
They did.
"If the event occurs, the village will be without power and heat? I asked.
It would.
"You expect your employees to turn their families away from the only place of warmth in the area?"
They thought about that one.

The watchword then became "outreach."

You were born in debt to society. Someone before you built the dams, the power plants, mined the coal/uranium, etc. We are all interdependent on each other.
Any single man is more mobile than any group provided that group is uncoordinated.
This is the foundation of the myth of the rugged individualist. It's not Rambo that wins wars, it's team work.
The same with society.

You could not possibly in your lifetime produce enough effort to build and operate (for example) Hoover dam from scratch.

Yet we have vast amounts of the equivalent in capital tied up in the hands of a few individuals.

I'm no communist or socialist by any means. Unless I misunderstand, it appears you lean toward meritocracy. I do as well.
It is for that reason I believe there are inequities in our system. I pulled myself out of a hole that very few people climb out of. I have a military friend who came from literally dirt poor and is now more successful than I am.

You don't seriously posit that he or I am less entitled to the wealth we produce than some guy who's only talent is ordering more bottles of Chrystal Champagne do you?

In the same way, were he in a situation where his talents were nurtured, his drive given a solid foundation, rather than squandered just to get enough education to make enough money to get his head above water he would likely be a much more productive member of society.

I whole heartedly believe in capitalism, but I think it needs far more free trade than we have now.
Health should not be a commodity. Particularly when there are much greater rewards to be reaped by society when extremely talented individuals aren't wasting that talent establishing (static) capital in that area.

Why do we bother keeping Steven Hawking alive?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:58 AM on October 16, 2005


I'm with dreamsign. I think it's a gross mischaracterization to describe this as the UN "hitting back."
posted by Vidiot at 1:29 AM on October 16, 2005


ROU_Xeny: other people worry that the coverage they get under a nationalized scheme won't be as good as they have now

I've often read US peeps fretting about single-payer for this reason, and I'm curious: in policy discussions is it usually presented as a binary choice? You have nationalised healthcare or you have private healthcare? Because I would certainly object to nationalised healthcare if that were the case.

In the UK I'm covered for everything, all the time, effectively for free (my tax and national insurance are £200/month out of my paycheque, but for that I have this whole country at my beck and call, not just the NHS). I get a very reasonable -- and sometimes, depending on where I am in the country, very, very good -- level of care. If I want care presumably equal to some of the best US institutions I can buy extra insurance from a private provider (or I can pay on-the-door for such care), but I don't have to worry about my health if I suddenly go bankrupt.

Is a UK-style system ever suggested as an option in policy discussion? Is it considered impractical for the US?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:08 AM on October 16, 2005


Here's the problem with relying on employer-provided health insurance: if you become gravely ill, you will likely lose your job and thus your insurance. Employee health benefits seem like they cover the healthcare problem for those who are lucky enough to have them, but god forbid that you ever have a chronic debilitating illness.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:14 AM on October 16, 2005


CCK was expounding the virtues of voluntary contract. Presumably insurance is still a voluntary contract.

As is membership in society. And dues must be paid.

What surprises me most is that even the most die-hard Utilitarians seem to willfully ignore the big picture when deducing the value of the common good. Let me put it to you in another way, one you might better understand: It is in your best interests for people to have health care. It is in your best interests for people to have gainful employment. See there? No mention of any weak-willed wishy-washy morality.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:41 AM on October 16, 2005


Nicely put smedleyman, thankyou.
posted by ozjohn at 6:29 AM on October 16, 2005


Ludwig von Mises would argue the problem with our (America's) health care system is too little privitization. Over-regulation of medical licenses and prescription drugs increase the cost of medicine and care.

Example: you have a cold and need some medicine. You know this from prior experience. Instead of going to the store to purchase the required medicine, you have to pay to go to a doctor who writes you a prescription for the government controlled medication. The price of the consultation is artificially high because the doctor must cover his cost of licensing by the state, and the cost of the medication is high because the pharmacutical company must also cover their costs of licensing and approvals (which are actually more like bribes).

An over-regulated medical industry also has the effect of causing citizens to believe obtaining a side-effect free cure is some kind of guaranteed birthright. This leads to malpractice lawsuits, increased government regulation (which means doctors and drug companies pay yet more in licensing), and huge malpractice insurance premiums, which is another cost to be covered by doctors and drug companies.

So while government is supposedly there to protect those who cannot protect themselves (i.e. the poor), their over-regulation of a free market only prices very basic health care out of the reach of the poorest Americans.

The problem is actually quite simple if you think about it. It's remarkable that many think that the answer is MORE government interference and not less.
posted by b_thinky at 6:38 AM on October 16, 2005


Some sayed great things and some can say just stupidity (sorry for the word)

b_thinky : for you the health system in Canada is more or less expensive than America's one?
posted by zouhair at 6:41 AM on October 16, 2005


Ludwig von Mises would argue the problem with our (America's) health care system is too little privitization. Over-regulation of medical licenses and prescription drugs increase the cost of medicine and care.

Except that von Mises is a complet idiot who doesn't know a damn thing about medicine or how insurance companies actually work:

1) The AMA regulates who can practice medicine by internally regulating the number of doctors who go through medical school, thus ensuring high demand for an artificially low supply of doctors

2) Over half of the cost of healthcare is due to processing paperwork between health systems and insurance companies — and not to actual procedural or drug treatment work

3) "Free market" (corporate-friendly) economics and patent legislation friendly to corporations ensures that (entirely privitized) pharmaceutical companies are not only immensely profitable, but their products are resistant to the encroachment of sales of cheap generics and attempts by the government to restrict or manage pharma's price increases

4) Malpractice insurance is not expensive because of lawsuits, but because most insurance companies have not made as much profit over the last decade from their investments of the malpractice premium revenues they take in from doctors; insurance companies are essentially blaming patients for a bad stock market

If anything, an honest look at the causes of our problems will lead people to realize that corporate pseudo-privitization of healthcare has lead to massive ande deliberate inefficiencies. The mainstream media's inability to report accurately and honestly on these issues is why we're suffering with the world's most expensive and inequitable healthcare system.
posted by Rothko at 7:11 AM on October 16, 2005


Over-regulation of medical licenses and prescription drugs increase the cost of medicine and care.

No, having a greedy insurance industry in the middle of health-care transactions increases the cost of medicine and care.

Example: you have a cold and need some medicine. You know this from prior experience. Instead of going to the store to purchase the required medicine, you have to pay to go to a doctor . . .

If you pay to see a doctor when you have a cold, you don't have much prior experience, since the doctor is going to tell you to take some over-the-counter medicine and go to bed. Doctors cannot cure colds, and they'll tell you that.

The price of the consultation is artificially high because the doctor must cover his cost of licensing by the state . .

No, the price of consultation is high because the doctor has to pay huge sums to your friends, the insurance companies.

the cost of the medication is high because the pharmacutical company must also cover their costs of licensing and approvals (which are actually more like bribes).

Again, no, because the costs of developing drugs are partly subsidized by the government. The costs are high because the drug companies are granted monopolies on new drugs, and can charge whatever they wish for them.

Or maybe you're on that world that our health-care system is the envy of.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:22 AM on October 16, 2005


emjaybee: Govt-run healthcare just changes the size of the pool and who's paying in, and a very small group of people who may not pay in at all. But it's the same basic concept.

Exactly, it always strikes me how those who argue for private insurance vs. state health care don't even want to consider that. But I guess some people really have such a strong ideological aversion to taxes combined with a blind faith that the private sector is inherently more reliable than state institutions, and that is all they think about. Top with some moralising about the poor and serve cold.

Funny how they talk of national health care as some sort of experiment someone never tried before, something the US citizens would be guinea pigs for. Picture all the doom scenarios you like, none of them have occurred where that system has already been in place for decades. So how about a dose of reality?
posted by funambulist at 7:49 AM on October 16, 2005


in policy discussions is it usually presented as a binary choice? You have nationalised healthcare or you have private healthcare?

That's the model next door*. The plans being described tend to be a lot closer to Canada's than to the UK's.

People also worry that they won't get back the employer-paid portion of health insurance, and will start having to pay it directly through taxes, so what they effectively pay for health insurance doubles or nearly so.

*which isn't really fair or applicable. It's not that Canada doesn't have private health care, it's that Canada's private health care is in the US. But there's no mega-US on the US's border to provide that need.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:50 AM on October 16, 2005


Kirth Gerson - no, because the costs of developing drugs are partly subsidized by the government.

While true, there's more money put into marketing drugs than in developing them.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:41 PM on October 16, 2005


"Except that von Mises is a complet idiot who doesn't know a damn thing about medicine or how insurance companies actually work:"

Only on MeFi could Marx be praised and von Mises called an idiot!

"The mainstream media's inability to report accurately and honestly on these issues is why we're suffering with the world's most expensive and inequitable healthcare system.

Note to self: when the masses don't agree with me, blame the MSM!
posted by b_thinky at 5:43 PM on October 16, 2005


pre-revolutionary France.

Oh, dear. That's the metaphor I've been invoking in conversations for a couple months now. Can't say I'm happy that someone else is feeling it, too.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:20 PM on October 16, 2005


Thanks for talking down to me everyone (exactly what I expected from this crowd) but no one has bothered to answer one question I put forth my first commet.

To what end am I responsible for the care and well being of everyone else?

How much of MY labor and your labor are going to be TAKEN from us?

With some quoting Marx, and others praising him, I think maybe my questions have been answered.
posted by CCK at 7:19 PM on October 16, 2005


With some quoting Marx, and others praising him, I think maybe my questions have been answered.

Then why did you ask it? Seriously, if you just want to talk to yourself or ask yourself rhetorical questions, you should enter the comment, and preview it, and then close the window without posting. Does wonders for the soul and doesn't bother anyone else.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:38 PM on October 16, 2005


With some quoting Marx, and others praising him, I think maybe my questions have been answered.

Yeah, it's pretty convenient to ask questions in such a way to such an audience that you will get responses that confirm what you already believe to be true.

Did you see how those criminal blacks acted at the 1st amendment rally in Toledo?
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:11 PM on October 16, 2005


Note to self: when the masses don't agree with me, blame the MSM!
posted by b_thinky at 8:43 PM EST on October 16 [!]


Will you bother to address the four factual points I laid out for you that von Mises cannot, or will you play the tired role of a hurt, tortured right-winger?
posted by Rothko at 11:06 PM on October 16, 2005


CCK: do you have your own private army? police? firefighter department? intelligence agency? diplomatic offices in every nation? your own laws and your own law enforcement? do you travel only on roads you built yourself? do you never use public parks and services? do you use only private couriers and never the post office to send or receive mail or packages? Just to list a few examples.

If the answer to at least one of these questions is "no", then, there's your answer. Unless you've gone to live like a hermit on a deserted island, you are living in a society that has public services that you are using, directly or indirectly, by the very fact of living there. Your taxes, no matter how high or low, pay for all of that. Object to how they're spent and where, but what you're objecting to there is the very principle of living in an organised society with public infrastructures and institutions and services along with private ones, but private couldn't exist without public.

If you don't see how health care is in the same category as public roads and police and firefighters and so on, then it's just your own short-sightedness. An organised society has as much interest in having as many people as possible who are healthy and can work live long and pay taxes, as it has in having as many people as possible who respect laws and as few fires as possible. It also has an interest in catching illnesses early on, even in people who are not working, so that they don't end up costing a lot more when they're rushed to hospital later. On the other hand, there will always be people whose behaviour results in unnecessary use of any service managed by a state. You're paying for that already. On top, if you have private insurance, like emjaybee said, you're paying for services given to other privately-insured people; same as if you were paying in taxes for a national health care system. Why don't you address that? If your objection is simply that you don't want to pay for any healthcare you're not personally using yourself, then why have insurance at all?
posted by funambulist at 3:16 AM on October 17, 2005


CCK, did you make the keys on the keyboard, the keyboard which is connected to the computer, which is connected to the internet, which is connected to everyone else's computers? Did you build the chips within the box? Did you write the Operating System? Did you invent the computer language? Did you invent the mathematics that is expressed by the computer language?

No, you didn't. Somebody did. They had to be healthy to do so. Someone else helped them to be healthy, by providing education, entertainment, relationships of social nature, and guidance in the form of mentoring, hiring, firing; basically everything we do, is shaped by someone else, even if we live on that proverbial desert island, because even then, we are thinking about the things we are glad that are no longer around us to annoy us, like petty, selfish idiots who only think of themselves. Or we are thinking about the things we miss, like ice cream or internet porn.

Public Healthcare is vital. It is needed. This does not mean that we won't be able to get the 'best' treatment if we can afford it, but there are too many people who can not afford healthcare. People who if they were healthy would be contributing to society rather than taking from it.
posted by N8k99 at 3:41 AM on October 17, 2005


Over-regulation of medical licenses and prescription drugs increase the cost of medicine and care.

Yes, and under-regulation of same would increase the death rate.
posted by Vidiot at 6:57 AM on October 17, 2005


1) The AMA regulates who can practice medicine by internally regulating the number of doctors who go through medical school, thus ensuring high demand for an artificially low supply of doctors

This may be true to a very small degree, but the number is even lower due to government regulations and the threat of lawsuits.

2) Over half of the cost of healthcare is due to processing paperwork between health systems and insurance companies — and not to actual procedural or drug treatment work.

Yes, becasue of idiotic regulations. Why can't you see that? Health care is a product just like anything else. You do not need insurance to drink a Pepsi, nor does it require 5 employees to fill out paper-work whenever you purchase a 2 liter bottle.

3) "Free market" (corporate-friendly) economics and patent legislation friendly to corporations ensures that (entirely privitized) pharmaceutical companies are not only immensely profitable, but their products are resistant to the encroachment of sales of cheap generics and attempts by the government to restrict or manage pharma's price increases

You're assuming our current market is "free." Current governemnt interference only creates an unlevel playing field between large and small companies. Getting drug approval is a long, expensive and tedious process that only the largest companies can afford. My company has this problem, though it's in a different government regulated field.

4) Malpractice insurance is not expensive because of lawsuits, but because most insurance companies have not made as much profit over the last decade from their investments of the malpractice premium revenues they take in from doctors; insurance companies are essentially blaming patients for a bad stock market

Perhaps, but without current strangling regulations, the need for malpractice insurance would not be so great, and their prices would fall.

What you need to understand is that healthcare is product, not a human right. When it becomes a human right, we believe we are entitled to compensation whenever we're not satisfied with the product. Under normal market circumstances, we'd vote with our wallets by not purchasing from this person again, but now, since it's our birth right to be cured of everything, we are entitled to millions when we're not. That raises the price more than anything.
posted by b_thinky at 12:40 PM on October 17, 2005


CCK, did you make the keys on the keyboard, the keyboard which is connected to the computer, which is connected to the internet, which is connected to everyone else's computers? Did you build the chips within the box? Did you write the Operating System? Did you invent the computer language? Did you invent the mathematics that is expressed by the computer language?

No, but CCK paid for all of these things because they provide value to him/her. We can play the socialist game to and say s/he paid taxes to educate and provide some health care to these people as well. What you're proposing goes way above and beyond what CCK already pays for.

The U.S. is the world's strongest economy and has been for decades. Seems to be working OK now... why change it?
posted by b_thinky at 12:44 PM on October 17, 2005


I am sure Bush will run health care better than he has run... everything else.

Since the war has consumed every cent I will ever pay in taxes, we might as well start another hole to start dumping money into. Won't matter to much when the permafrost goes anyway.
posted by thirteen at 3:50 PM on October 17, 2005


The U.S. is the world's strongest economy and has been for decades. Seems to be working OK now... why change it?

Er, buddy, you might want to check into that. It is distinctly not working OK now.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:16 PM on October 17, 2005


"What you need to understand is that healthcare is product, not a human right.
posted by b_thinky at 12:40 PM PST on October 17 [!]"

I was about with you on a bunch of points until you said this man.

If it’s not a right what is it? A privilege? Private law? Who has more right to it? An artist? A scientist? Does a businessman have more right because he makes more money?
Again - Steven Hawking. He produces no wealth or capital, yet we support him. Why?

By the same token - is breathing air a right?

I have a right to health given that we live in an artificial environment. If we were back in the jungle, no. But as Hobbes pointed out, we’d better off not being in the jungle.
--------

“To what end am I responsible for the care and well being of everyone else?

How much of MY labor and your labor are going to be TAKEN from us?
posted by CCK at 7:19 PM PST on October 16 [!]”


Gee, I vaguely remember a fairly long post by ....smedleyman... on this.
But ok again -
“To what end am I responsible for the care and well being of everyone else?”
-To the extent they are responsible for yours. And there are more of them. Therefore the odds favor you. I’d explain this, but I don’t really want to. I’m sure someone else can explain statistical probability to you. Talk to an actuary.

“How much of MY labor and your labor are going to be TAKEN from us?”

As much as they want or they will kill you, peasant. Or do you think things have changed that much? Try not paying your taxes then. Try getting a job while telling your employer you don’t want payroll taxes removed. You pay taxes or they kill you.
It’s been that way throughout history. It’s been that way in this country since Shay’s rebellion (wiki it). It works like this - you refuse to pay. They come to collect. You say you don’t recognize their authority to take from you. They demand your imprisonment. Since you don’t recognize their authority to tax you, you refuse to be imprisoned and resist. They resort to force. You resist with force (as you must).
They have more guns and more men. They kill you for resisting.

Fairly straightforward.

But it’s the same on a lifeboat. If you were rich and had bought ALL of the supplies that we happened to have on our lifeboat and you refused to share them I would kill you without hesitation. The others aboard would help me. By the same token someone who refused to share with you would be killed.

The reason kings and presidents get away with killing you is because there are strong parallels in each situation. You return what you have to the common weal or you die. Because life is more important than your comfort or even equal distribution of the fruits of labor.

It’s why they get away with it and why we all get so pissed when someone breaks that contract.

Health is the same way. We cannot judge who is more worthy of the priority for this commodity because this represents life itself. Like water, like food.
Therefore it should be equally shared.
Because if you don’t other people who perhaps know vital things or have useful thoughts might die.

So - how much? As much as others need to live, because life is that fucking important and your comfort isn’t. Sorry if it isn’t fair. Lots of us are looking to fix that too.





-----------
“Nicely put smedleyman, thankyou.
posted by ozjohn at 6:29 AM PST on October 16 [!]”

Thank you. I think Civil_Disobedient (at 5:41 AM PST on October 16 [!]) said it better and more concise tho.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:27 PM on October 17, 2005


/on preview:

“Like water, like food.
Therefore it should be equally shared.”

"But, but, food and water aren’t equally shared!?!?"

Uh huh.


In that light, neither is air. Yet companies demand the right to pollute without restriction as though garbage collection should be free for them for some reason.
You’d think people believed in market forces, yet what they actually believe is ‘capitalism’ is monopolization, usurpation of the commons and privilege.

What the hell is clean air, water and food production if it isn't capital?
Why should we expend it?

Same token - what is good health if not capital? Why don't I have a right to save it? Why should I have to expend it in exchange for labor production? Why can’t I own the means of my own labor production?
I am in favor of people who build their business up into a success owning that. I see no reason to share it with their workers. The trade off of money for labor is fine with me.
Why should it be manditory for me to rent my machines from another company when I can own them?

Same thing - why the hell can’t I own my health - the basis for my labor power - to produce wealth?




I make some of you look like Ralph Nader and this is obvious to me.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:40 PM on October 17, 2005


You can have the moral argument about health care, but in the end it comes down to really pragmatic self-interest of a society (rather than the self-interest of an individual who only looks at what goes in and out of his wallet).

If you have lots of people who have no access to healthcare even at the most basic stage, then you'll have lots of people whose health problems cannot be caught early on, and if they develop into something more serious, many of those people are likely going to end up getting emergency treatment, which is a lot more expensive than getting screened and treated when treatment can be more effective. What the report says: The uninsured are less likely to have regular outpatient care, so they are more likely to be hospitalized for avoidable health problems. Duh.

Health care already isn't just like any other product or service, because doctors and hospitals are obligated to intervene to save people's lives.

Then, there's the thing that for any industry to work you need workers in good health. For the government to work, you need taxpayers who don't die young, cos the longer they live, the more taxes they pay. Both the public and private sectors of the whole machine need to have as many people in good health as possible. That's why even the US government spends money on health campaigns. Why would any government do that if it didn't have an interest in the health of its citizens?

So you can rant and rail all you like against people who don't have a job or don't have their own nice private insurance, you can assign it to all to the individual's fault, you can go on and on and on about how much cooler and wiser you are, still, you as taxpayer are going to end up paying the cost in the end anyway, even in a system with private insurance rather than national healthcare and even if you prefer to pay a private insurance company just because its not "taxes" so it feels less "socialist" (does anyone seriously believe that all those countries who have national healthcare are all socialist?)

It's not a matter of compassion and charity, the argument for national healthcare is very 'cynical' itself at the root, it is about economic self interest, not just about ethical principles of providing for people in need, which in turn is something a society needs to do to survive and thrive economically and reduce those problems so that more people can contribute rather than take.

Also, national healthcare doesn't mean everything is "free" (tax subsidised) for everyone. There can be different tiers and people not below the poverty line can still be required to pay extra for specific non-life saving treatment or tests or drugs, or half the cost, etc.

You have tons of examples from different countries with different politics and different cultures. It's not anything new or to be argued about only in abstract hypothetical terms. Compare and contrast. Or else keep going on about it as if it was something never tried and tested...
posted by funambulist at 3:11 AM on October 18, 2005


Again - Steven Hawking. He produces no wealth or capital, yet we support him. Why?

Er, actually, Stephen Hawking has wealth and has produced capital, what with being a professor and having sold all those books.

Not to detract from your point, Smedleyman, but you picked the wrong example!
posted by funambulist at 3:13 AM on October 18, 2005


World. Revolving. Not you.
posted by dreamsign at 8:57 AM on October 18, 2005


Again - Steven Hawking. He produces no wealth or capital, yet we support him. Why?

Er, actually, Stephen Hawking has wealth and has produced capital, what with being a professor and having sold all those books.

Not to detract from your point, Smedleyman, but you picked the wrong example!
posted by funambulist at 12:13 PM CET on October 18 [!]


No he just gave a good example, before Stephen Hawking produced any wealth he was ill, and if the society didn't had take care of him all,he wealth he produced would never been seen !

Anyway, it's simple for me, in a country as wealthy as the USA, EVERY american citizen MUST have a descent work that can give him the possibility to have a A GOOD SHELTER, A GOOD HEALTH, A GOOD EDUCATION AND THE BASIC GOOD FOOD. If now it's not a reality in America (and the reality is FAR from that) so it's a shame, and if I was an american I would be ashamed to tell I'm american!
posted by zouhair at 3:16 PM on October 18, 2005


I am quite ashamed.

But I'm stuck here, I'm afraid. And so are many, many others.
posted by beth at 8:13 PM on October 18, 2005


But you're not stuck about bugging your political representatives about it. If every one of you who understands the fundamental importance of universal healthcare, and the immense savings it represents in terms of unlost labour and unspent medical resources, were to write a short letter to your representative, you'd end up getting what you want.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:05 PM on October 18, 2005


That one's good :)

The Rolling Stones - Sweet Neo Con
posted by zouhair at 1:28 AM on October 19, 2005


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