Which Passeth All Understanding

22 March 2010

There are a number of things I don’t really understand. 

I don’t understand astro-physics.  I’m not sure I really understand how a fax machine works.  I don’t understand why people believe in invisible friends.

And I don’t understand why so many Americans are appalled at the prospect of 38 million more of their fellow citizens having access to healthcare cover.

Some of the discussions I’ve come across on the internet are full of amazing vitriol and abuse.  I was told,  when extolling the virtues of the British and Australian systems,  that it would be dreadful if people who are poor, or unemployed or (Heaven forbid) illegal immigrants had access to the same sort of healthcare that those who were working and/or rich had always had to pay for. 

I was asked what happens in England, for instance, if an illegal immigrant became sick . . . does the state give him healthcare?  I was tempted to reply “No, we just let them die on the streets then send a bill to their next of kin to cover the cost of shovelling them up”.  Of course we give immigrants, illegal or otherwise, access to medical facilities.   

Reading the comments today has left me bemused, if not downright angry.  “A sad day for America with the Federal Government taking over healthcare.”   And other such ill-informed rubbish.

I know there are millions of Americans who support this, and I know many Americans myself with very strong social consciences.  I just wish they would be a bit more vocal.



  1. I don’t understand it either. Two of the things I particularly love about Australia’s social/political system is Medicare (despite it’s shortcomings, it’s still pretty good) and compulsory voting. It constantly puzzles me that a country like the US doesn’t have either of those things (well, it’s much closer now with the health care reforms at least).

  2. Some of the lies I have read, that are put about by the US health insurance industry, are distressing. Like, that people with intellectual disabilities wpn’t get healthcare. Or that elderly people will be denied treatment (a friend’s father in fact had cataract surgery here at the age of 91 and Sandra’s mum is presently getting chemo for breast cancer at 89). They talk about a list of diseases being compiled by the US government that won’t be treated, eg type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other ‘lifestyle’ diseases. When you try to explain how it actually works her they get really angry and claim we are lying (why? what would we gain?).

    But the US will have to work hard to hang on to this gain – if the Republicans get control of congress later this year they say they will reverse it.

  3. I don’t understand people here against health care reform either. I get so angry listening to the selfish people that I have to turn off the radio & internet (I don’t have tv) news. I am hoping (but not confidently) that the politicians have the balls to finally do what’s right.

  4. I don’t get it either. Happily, I’m a Clintonista liberal Democrat and I believe that it is my country’s responsibility to take care of people. I’m relieved that a health care bill was passed, even though it stripped away so much substance that it is not going to give everyone relief. It’s a starting point, but that is all. Not all Americans are vitriolic narcissists though, and I’m happy to tell you that most everyone I know is sane, and recognizes that the country was failing to provide a basic need. The ones I think are horrifying are the “Christians” who aren’t ashamed at denying healthcare to the poor, and don’t see the inconguity.

  5. I just heard a clip of Glenn Beck on the radio – he sounded as though he was going to give himself an aneurysm he was so angry.I don’t understand that anger, and I don’t understand the “middle America” christians who are against healthcare reform – for goodness sake they are christians – looking after others is their mandate!

  6. he was actually talking about your speaker of the house – who “had to travel to the US as he couldn’t get treatment for prostate cancer in Australia” if that’s true (that he couldn’t get treatment) and I doubt it – he should have popped over to NZ – we have great prostate cancer care here.

  7. My favourite bit of media coverage was a shot outside the senate where there were picketers. One was holding a rather fetching graphic of Obama, with the word “Socialist” in bold type underneath.

    As if that were a bad thing!

  8. Indeed, tis very weird.

    Good news, though!

  9. I still think the UK system has a lot to commend it – it provides healthcare which is “free at the point of delivery”. We do pay for it, by a monthly National Insurance contribution deducted from our salary, but it provides unlimited access, continues past our working life, and isn’t judgmental.

    Who would willingly vote in favour of a society full of sick (untreated) people, non-participating and non-contributing and probably very angry?

    And ss for the so-called “Christians” – they believe Jesus healed the sick, so would they like to buy some medications and go hand them out for nothing, emulating his example, (since presumably even they don’t think they’re capable of miracles)?

  10. The Obama reforms have a long way to go before any informed person would label them socialist. The system still works through the private sector, you have to buy health insurance, even if your purchase is subsidised. And there is still Medicare and Medicaid, funded by State and Federal funds.

    Americans hate paying tax, they hate the idea of any of the money they work for, going to people who do not work and therefore do not pay tax. And that usually means black people.

    Perhaps if they had lost the Revolutionary War, they would have socialised medicine and almost free tertiary education, like us.

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