National Health, Surely?
This 'Obamacare' issue has them in a right tizzy over at Fox News. I tuned in to catch the end of Bret Baier's interview with Ol' Barry-Oh this morning. I am becoming a bigger and bigger fan of this news network. Bret Baier is hilarious. He actually looks like Ron Burgundy. He acted like a student Journalist who had been told to go in to the White House, ask some questions and give the President a hard time. And Obama gives him the amount of respect that situation would deserve. You can see it in his eyes, "You, my friend, are an idiot. But your network has a lot of viewers so I have to answer your stupid questions". I find it hard to be objective here because whenever I watch Barack Obama I find myself swooning at how damn cool he is, but he comes across just as eloquent and intelligent as Baier comes across uninformed and ignorant. Give it a watch.
I've tried very hard to get my head around this health care bill. It baffles me. I find the whole thing very interesting because it is a cultural difference between the US and the UK that I have never truly understood - how can a person possibly go untreated for an illness simply because they can't afford it? How can that be allowed to happen? Or, if they are able to scrape the money together somehow, how can the Government sit back and allow their residents to go bankrupt or lose their homes because they got sick. Getting sick is just something that happens isn't it? People get sick and need treating. So they should be treated. Regardless of how much they earn.
I know it isn't as simple as that. America has a health care system that has been in place for years and works to a large extent. Your ability to get affordable health care comes down to your ability to maintain employment and there is a logic to it. Hard-working Americans get health insurance for their families and if you don't have a job, well, why should you be subsidised by the people that do? There is a logic to this way of thinking, I'll admit. I disagree with it, but what does my limey arse know? It has been working for a long time. Why change it?
Obama's health care plan would put control into the hands of the Government and make it a legal requirement for an American citizen to possess health insurance. It would take power away from the corporations who currently control (literally) people's lives, and put it into the hands of those kindly fellows in Washington. A lot of opposition to the Bill has come from people raising issues of trust and asking why Washington should have the power to decide what is covered and what isn't. My (American) mate Matt put it rather eloquently by saying that he trusts the Government a heck of a lot more than he trusts corporations who have a clear agenda when it comes to paying out for health care. I would whole-heartedly concur.
I was speaking to my old high school friend Stacey who left England for the States after meeting and marrying a Marine and now currently resides, with her husband and daughter in the glorious sunshine of San Diego, making her very easy to hate. We were discussing this Bill from the perspective of people brought up on the good ol' NHS and who found the concept of paying for medical care alien (I think Stacey put it rather nicely with the phrase, 'DUH! Sick person: treat them'). She was saying to me that to really get your head around Obamacare you'd have to have a better understanding of the American health care system as it is currently and, even after living Stateside for a number of year, she couldn't admit to comprehending it fully. She also told me how, being US military as she is, Americans expected her to object to the idea of paying for other people's treatment as she would be required to under Obama's Bill. This simply isn't the case. As an American citizen, her opinion is totally valid, although swayed as it is by her youth in the UK. I wonder how many of her neighbours share her views.
A major argument for the opponents of the Bill is that it will cost money the country simply cannot afford. $971 billion over 10 years. Or more. 1/6 of America's economy, in fact. Hey, guess how much has been spent or approved to be spent by America on the illegal Iraq War, up to and including September of this year? $900 billion.
So...let me work this out...
$971 billion - $900 billion = $71 billion! For new health care? That's a bargain!
In fact, I reckon Obama could probably get it done for a clean $70 billion. That'll leave an extra billion to keep this dickhead in doughnuts for another year.
As I've said, I've tried very hard to understand the new proposals and I really, really don't. I understand enough, though, to realise that any country's health care system that is allowing legal residents to die of treatable diseases needs changing up. I hope the Bill gets passed. And Barry, with his big brown eyes, says it will be. So I believe him.
Love, Smithy x
Posted by Smithy at 18.3.10