I have been following, from afar, the debate in USA about healthcare. This is of great interest to me for a number of reasons–the most significant being that I have experience with both the UK and USA “system”. It is disappointing to read in the USA media about what some in USA say is so terrible about other countries including the UK.
But a Swiss-style system of universal coverage would be a vast improvement on what we have now. And we already know that such systems work. So we can do this. At this point, all that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies.
This illustrates the biggest change in the rhetoric of health care reform over the past year. Last summer, during the campaign, Obama succeeded in focusing attention on the real problems of the patchwork insurance-and-care system as it actually exists: rising costs, bureaucratic inflexibility, perverse incentives, inevitable delays and de facto rationing, implicit decisions about life and death. Now, various opponents of a reform plan have succeeded in shifting attention to the imagined problems of a post-reform system: rising costs, bureaucratic inflexibility, perverse incentives, inevitable delays and de facto rationing, implicit decisions about life and death. It is an achievement to ponder.