I better declare my bias. I am a naturalized American, and was raised in the world’s first national health care system, in the United Kingdom. My father was a pioneering doctor in this system which was established right after World War II. Rather than practice as a private doctor, and make pots of money, my father cared for four generations of poor families in one of London’s working class districts, and was paid as a civil servant. Here in the US, I call myself part of the ‘intellectual working class’ because I don’t have job security, employee health insurance or retirement benefits. Recently I broke my arm which meant an out of pocket cost of $5000 because I could only afford the least expensive insurance rate. I can’t afford to replace two missing ‘smile’ teeth (not a good look!) So, this is a topic dear to my heart.
Carolyn wrote “Across the United States, women are forced to forego both preventative and urgent medical and dental care due to economic considerations. “Uninsured women account for 20% of the population of women ages 18 to 64”,(Women's Health2, 2010)
It was good to hear from our military colleagues that they are receiving comprehensive health care.
Sometimes I wonder if we as Americans are being asked to choose between the world’s largest military or universal health care and education.
A student wrote
‘It is more difficult to sustain healthcare coverage in a federal system where states legislation can differ and difference of level of states’ income is so wide
Military taxes are raised federally. It makes sense when you consider that a nation has to pay for its defense, as one entity within physical borders. But, as Carolyn wrote ‘A nation's health underpins its ability to remain competitive in the global sociopolitical arena.’ So, shouldn’t health costs be raised federally too? Medicare is a federal expense.
This raises the issue of how one defines ‘national security’. Should it be about war- preparedness and fighting, or should it also be about ensuring that the population is relatively healthy?