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Universal Healthcare

A few days ago, the German web news magazine, der Spiegel (www.spiegel.de) had an interesting article on the attitude of Americans toward universal health coverage.  The magazine also question the attitude of a number of Americans toward President Obama.  Because of the health initiative, they call him a socialist or a communist.

Otto von Bismark

Universal Healthcare was introduced in Germany by, probably their greatest statesman, Otto von Bismark, in the latter part of the nineteenth century.  No one with any knowledge of history would call this man a socialist or a communist, yet, he introduced old age pensions, state-supported medical care, and unemployment coverage.  No politician in Germany, whether from the far left or far right would dare interfere with it today.  In spite of all this “socialism” as the uninformed might call it, Germany is financially very strong and has weathered the global recession very well.

The attitude toward healthcare in Germany is that it gives them a competitive advantage.  A healthy workforce is a more productive workforce.  Statistics seem to back them up.  In our current global crisis Germany has relatively low unemployment and many sectors of their economy are booming — and their healthcare coverage is superb.

The US comes across as a religious country.  God seems to be a part of all debates — especially in the current presidential campaign, yet Americans are unwilling to help their fellow man.  Maybe I’ve got it wrong, what was it that Jesus preached?

The US ranks last out of the top 16 industrial countries on a measure of deaths that might have been prevented with timely and effective care.  Things are getting worse.  Access to health care has significantly eroded since 2006 with more than 81 million working-age adults — some 44 percent of those aged 19 to 64 — uninsured or underinsured in 2010.

Under the course of the George W Bush administration, there was an increase of 35 percent of Americans who became uninsured.  Does anyone think that he or the Republicans really cared?

It is true, of course, that the GW Bush administration is no longer in power, so, do the Republicans see the error of their ways?  Well, on Thursday, May 10, the House of Representatives passed the “Sequestration Replacement Act”.  What is THAT all about?

Glad you asked: steep cuts in defense spending were scheduled to go into effect in January 2013.  First, it should be pointed out that our defense budget is as much as TOTAL DEFENSE SPENDING OF THE NEXT TEN HIGHEST-SPENDING COUNTRIES.  The military gets plenty of money!  The Republicans, however, felt that they should get even more, so, they voted to cut spending out of food stamps, Medicaid, Meals on Wheels, and a raft of other programs designed to help the poor and elderly.  I hope that this scares Al-Qaida.  It sure scares me!

How does Mitt Romney feel about this?  He wants deeper cuts in social programs and even more defense spending.  Is anyone happy about this?  Probably defense contractors as well as the 1% who are going to get their way of life defended without having to pay for it.  Lucky for them.  Not so much for us.

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