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Health Last Updated: Aug 31st, 2009 - 00:39:11

Health care: You can�t win the Super Bowl with a third-string quarterback
By Dennis Rahkonen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 31, 2009, 00:16

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We�ve recently seen U.S. conservatives at Barack Obama�s public rallies wearing pistols and even assault rifles to protest what they imagine is his �socialist� approach to health care reform.

In 1883, however, one of history�s most salient arch-conservatives, Otto von Bismark of Germany, implemented national health care for all because he wanted a fair, compassionate society.

After WWII, Clement Attlee did likewise in Britain.

Neither man was anything even remotely close to a �dangerous left-wing radical,� as Obama has been ridiculously termed, but they gave their homelands the basis for health care systems that, the last time the World Health Organization compared matters, are both substantially in advance of our own.

Roughly 50 countries now have some form of single-payer health care that affordably covers everyone, but only a few can validly be termed socialist.

As dual-citizenship holders and others who�ve experienced medical reality in those nations overwhelmingly attest, their complete, inexpensive coverage is vastly preferable to the broken apparatus they�ve also dealt with here.

This month, a group devoted to providing free health care in destitute Third World locations offered its humanitarian charity at the Los Angeles Forum, and the huge stadium was teeming for over a week with urban Americans desperate for medical attention.

That grimly reflects our number 37 rating in international health care comparison, a humiliating fact that no true patriot can mutely tolerate.

While single-payer would be our ideal solution, the milder �public option� is a considerable improvement over what we have now.

Under conservative pressure, though, even that may wind up getting flushed, to be replaced by health care cooperatives of amorphous, impotent nature, allowing greedy hospital/insurance/pharmaceutical profiteers to continue charging us an arm and a leg for our essential requirements.

This backup to a backup option would be like trying to win a Super Bowl with a third-string quarterback.

It just wouldn�t work, and any coach who seriously proposed such an idea would quickly be fired.

Health care isn�t a game, of course. It�s a life-and-death issue that touches us all.

We need the best service, for the largest number, at the most affordable price.

The rest of civilized, developed humanity has long known how to efficiently do just that, and only the unrelenting avarice of our for-profit medical hierarchy -- with its increasingly extreme shock troops -- keeps us from doing the same.

It�s high time we all realized that access to health care is a fundamental human right, recognized as such by the global community in 1948. Those protesters displaying weapons in an attempt to thwart reform via intimidation are depriving themselves of something having far greater, direct bearing on their personal existence than the ability to own, and display, a gun.

Or do they somehow think they�re uniquely immune to serious illness or injury, and the economic uncertainties that could easily leave them unable to pay for vital, perhaps lifesaving care when they needed it most?

Dennis Rahkonen of Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the �60s.

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