You know what I’ve been thinking about lately? Socialization.
Few words can heat up a friendly political debate quite like socialization. Don’t believe me? Try it. The next time you’re with a group of friends from differing political backgrounds (or similar ones for that matter), just yell the word out loud.
Within five minutes your amicable little soiree will turn in to an ideological battle royal.
It’s also a word that’s being bandied about quite frequently these days, mostly by right wing Republicans who object to talk of the U.S. government potentially nationalizing the banks and, God forbid, healthcare.
Could anything be more frighteningly un-American than each and every U.S. citizen being insured and receiving proper healthcare?
Well, it doesn’t sound half bad to me. Which I guess makes me less patriotic and less American. But at this point, I’d wrap myself in the Soviet flag and goosestep down the main street of my quiet, Washington hamlet if it meant getting out from under the obnoxious healthcare system that currently plagues us.
While my family recently had a run-in with our healthcare provider, I can’t complain too loudly. After all, no one died or was evicted from the hospital and dropped off on skid row. But when my wife needed to have a wisdom tooth removed, the dental insurance company that covers her through her employer refused to pay the $500 plus dollars for the anesthesia required to perform the operation. Why? We can’t say for sure, but something tells me it has something to do with the insurance company lining their pocket with an extra $500.
Socialized medicine isn’t the answer, you say. It would just raise my taxes, you say. Fine. But based on our family income, something tells me our share wouldn’t be more than that $353 dollars a month we currently pay for my son and I to be insured in our currently all-American, red, white and blue healthcare system, to say nothing of money spent on co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions, and uncovered services, you know, like anesthesia.
Given the amount of cash American citizens pump into this archaic system you’d think the least we could get in return is the best medicine money can buy. Hardly. The last time I checked we had an infant mortality rate that was the second worst in the modern world. Why aren’t the pro-lifers up in arms about that little statistic?
And our life expectancy is nothing to brag about either. Based on 2008 numbers, we’re 46th in the world. Forty-freakin’-sixth!
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
For a country that prides itself on being number one, we collectively seem more than content to finish in the basement when it comes to our health.
Maybe it’s because we’re a capitalist nation that lets the markets rule, consequences be damned. How’s that market capitalism been working out for us these days? And those same people who prattle on and on about the evils of socialized medicine don’t seem to have any problems accepting assistance from our communist police and fire departments. Nor do I hear any of them shouting from the mountaintops that we should privatize our pinko libraries.
Plus, if a national healthcare system became a reality perhaps American employers wouldn’t move jobs to Canada in order to avoid the oppressive healthcare costs like GM did a few years back. And perhaps I could pump all the money I’d be saving on privatized coverage back into the economy. I’d finally be able to afford that pet chimp I’ve always wanted. Those are safe, right?
And imagine if there were millions of Americans that suddenly had hundreds more a month in disposable income. Now that would stimulate the economy like a lap dance at a Viagra convention.
Look, I’m not saying insuring three hundred million people would be easy. It wouldn’t be. It would probably be very difficult and it would take years to perfect. But there was once a time in this country when we welcomed challenges and took pride in achieving the unachievable.
Americans have put a man on the moon and created more boner medications than I can keep track of. I don’t think inventing a functioning, all-inclusive nationalized healthcare system is asking too much of us.
And if that makes me a godless communist who wipes his ass with the American flag, so be it.