According to this report, written in 2012, which quotes statistics from the World Health Report 2000 as well as the Commonwealth Fund in 2010, the United States ranked ridiculously low. The countries outranking the United States include Costa Rica, Dominica, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Oman, and Spain. In order to understand to utter embarrassment to be outranked with some of these countries listed, let’s compare international human rights and economic statistics.
According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, Morocco ranks 85th, United Arab Emirates ranks 25th, Saudi Arabia ranks 78th, Colombia ranks 33rd, Oman ranks 52nd, Malta ranks 55th, and, surprisingly, France ranks 75th.
According to Business Insider and The Atlantic, virtually all of the developed world has universal healthcare coverage except, among the superpowers, the United States and China. Even Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Cuba have socialized medicine. According to Forbes, a conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, discovered that countries “with universal health care have freer economies than the US.” These sovereignties include Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Ireland, and Estonia. South Africa has attempted to provide socialized medicine to the people; however, its failed efforts are an example to the world of how not to conduct legislative action.
However, not all countries with universal healthcare have “freer economies.” The British Independent reports Amnesty International’s list of ten countries with the worst human rights records. One of the countries listed also has, according to Business Insider, one of the best healthcare systems, at least on paper. Saudia Arabia, our largest oil trade partner, made the list. China, who also made the list, has attempted but, like South Africa, failed miserably by modern standards. This is hypocritical and damnable. Despite international criticism from internal U.N. investigations and reports, Saudi Arabia and China both sit on the United Nations Human Rights Council. Saudi Arabia flogs bloggers and journalists to inhibit free speech while beheading and crucifying others. In the far east, China has, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, wrongfully imprisoned activists and human rights lawyers. The United States, who has aided in Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen, barely trails behind these two in executions.
In early 2016, The Guardian asked one of the most vital and frequently asked questions of the year, “Which country has the world’s best healthcare system?” After evaluating twelve countries (e.g. France, Ireland, Sweden, China, Japan, etc.), the country that ranked first in the Commonwealth Fund was the United Kingdom. However there was conflicting information. Despite ranking “first in the latest Commonwealth Fund assessment of healthcare systems,” a whole slough of alcoholism and cancers plagues the population among “any rich country.” Though the United Kingdom ranked first, France comes in close second.
Their healthcare system was beyond intriguing. It was simple, affordable, and efficient. In France,
“All health transactions centre on a smartcard, the Carte Vitale. A GP visit costs €23 (£17), the Carte Vitale is swiped and the money is paid back into the patient’s bank account within five days. In general, the state reimbursement rate is between 70% and 100%. The poorest people and the long-term sick are covered 100%.”
Other countries (e.g. UK, Sweden, Japan, Germany) include an employer partnership where the government gives a financial incentive to provide healthcare. Germany, like Spain, provides a public option, giving the people more of a choice in private or public coverage. Italy goes a step further and
“…offers universal health coverage that is free or low cost at the point of delivery and covers the vast majority of drugs…The national insurance scheme is offered to all European citizens, and includes full coverage – paid for by general taxes – of inpatient treatments, tests, medications, surgery, emergency care, paediatrics and access to a family doctor.”
These programs are extremely successful. Why wouldn’t the United States want to partake in this political and economic spa. Simply put, politicians are bought.
This past election cycle, 48% of donations were made to Democrats, 44% to Republicans, and the remaining 8% was equally distributed. (These do not include PACs or individual donors). If you don’t believe me, on January 11 of this year, the Senate voted on the proposed [Bernie] Sanders-Klobuchar Amendment No. 178, meant
“To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to lower prescription drug prices for Americans by importing drugs from Canada.”
Basically, this would circumvent big pharmaceutical companies overpricing their product and provide an alternative avenue for cheaper drugs. However, despite bipartisan support by forty-six Republicans—including Ted Cruz, John McCain, and Rand Paul—the amendment was struck down by thirteen Democrats, many of whom have close ties to pharmeutical and investment firms and corporations wishing to continue making a profit off of the American people.
Many of these European programs were originally American ideas. However we gave up on ourselves. The Guardian reviews the United States’ healthcare system post-Obamacare:
“Though the system fosters excellence and innovation in places, the messy combination of underinsurance and overinsurance has left the US with the highest healthcare costs in the developed world and some of the worst overall health outcomes.”
This is unacceptable. We must move forward despite our differences. We cannot allow these bought politicians who shrowd themselves in pseudo-intellect and the false premises of constitutional conservation to further hinder the progression of American greatness. We start wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Syria with the forward military plans to invade Iran, Sudan and Lebanon, yet we cannot provide water for citizens in Flint, Michigan or proper and adequate shelter for the homeless, many of whom are veterans; we claim to spread democracy but the loser of the popular vote wins the presidency; we gerrymander congressional districts to avoid equal voting rights; we encourage oil drilling despite climate change issues; and we refuse to reform the recidivistic criminal justice system.
The time to act is now. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “The time is ripe right now to do what is right and reject the ugliness, violence and greed that have permeated too much of our political discourse.”
We, as the American body politic, shall overcome.