I have a friend, she calls me a Socialist. When she says it though it comes out like a dirty word. I suppose when I say Capitalist sometimes it comes out sounding like that too. I’m not a fan of labels, but if you have to then yes – I am a Liberal.
I think as an idea, Communism isn’t a bad thing. I don’t think it would work, and I know that when society has tried, it hasn’t. However, I believe that’s more down to human nature than the ideology though. At it’s simplest, a world where people give according to their means and take according to their needs – does it sounds so evil? I don’t think so.
Self-confessed Idealist. I know that there is enough food in the world that no one should writhe with hunger pains. I know that we have made the medical advances that certain diseases like malaria should not kill as many as it does. I know that we have the resources enough to provide a roof so that no one falls asleep on the street. All you need to do is listen to the words of ‘Imagine‘ in order to see what kind of world we could live in.
I know that some may try to tear my argument down with the statement, ‘We don’t live in an ideal world.’ Stick a ‘Why’ at the front of that sentence and a question mark at the end of it and you have my response to that.
My friend, who thinks I’m a dirty Socialist, and I are currently having a “heated discussion” about US healthcare reform. We’re discussing, not arguing. We have to make the distinction clear, despite the fact that she seems to have gone silent on me. She’s an American, a NYer at that so you know she has an opinion, who doesn’t believe that the health reform the President’s proposing should go through. I’m a Brit who’s never had to worry about the cost of getting fixed. I’ve always found it difficult to understand how healthcare isn’t universal, particularly in a country like the US. I’m sure there are reasons, I’m sure none of them are any good.
The US is not a third world country. It has the resources and the knowledge to provide its people – all of its people, with free healthcare. Yet it doesn’t. I admit that our healthcare system isn’t ideal. We have waiting lists. Some hospitals are better than others, as are some doctors. Sometimes things are missed. I don’t think that would change if we stopped having a national healthcare service. For all its faults, if you are broken – we will fix you. I have yet to hear an argument that convinces me we should do otherwise.
4yrs ago someone who is a part of me was diagnosed with a condition I still don’t understand. It wasn’t caused by anything she did. There is nothing about who she is that would make her more likely to catch this illness. We still don’t even know why she caught it. She just did. One moment she was fine and then the next thing we knew we had pretty much set up home in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
For 2yrs it wasn’t just her life that was put on hold, it was ours. As much as we tried to make everything just like it always had, at the back of our minds we always had to consider the limitations. There were certain things she couldn’t eat, we had to make sure she ate by a certain time, we had to be aware that she wasn’t getting too tired, we arranged things around her weekly hospital appointments, we watched every single action. It was never a burden to us, it is simply what we had to do to make sure that she was okay.
We would’ve continued like this, indefinitely if needs be. But then one of our friends did the most generous of acts and donated her kidney in order to fix her. So they both had the surgery and 2yrs down the road I am overjoyed to say that they are both doing fine. Of course we still keep a watchful eye, but you can see that she feels she has her life back. She is finally in control again.
If we had to pay for healthcare then it would’ve broken all of us financially to ensure she received the medical treatment she needed. Make no doubt we would have spent every single penny we had to help her, but I am immensely grateful that the cost of her care was never an issue. I don’t know how long our bank accounts would have lasted, I’d like to hope they would have lasted long enough but I can’t for certain.
I know that it’s complicated. The money has to be found, the systems set up, not to mention that drug companies in the US are big campaign contributors and with the recent changes I fear it is going to become all too easy to buy an election soon if the US is not careful. However, we set up our healthcare system after World War Two. The country had been ripped apart by the war, the economy was in turmoil, hundreds of thousands killed. Yet our government said, ‘We need to take care of our country.’ So they did, because it was the right thing to do.
What confuses me the most is that there are some people who don’t actually want universal healthcare. I’m baffled. Okay there are other pressing issues that need to be addressed, don’t get me started on education or equality (really the former Republican presidential candidate’s wife is a NoH8 advocate and the Democratic President still hasn’t sorted out DOMA?!?!), I realise that. We all have different priorities, but the fact that you can point blank ask someone whether they think there should be free healthcare (once whatever else they think is more important is fixed) and they can still say, ‘No.’ WTF is that about?!?!? Ugh. It just exasperates me.
If you are broken, they should fix you. How can you argue against something so fundamentally right?