We have been on a forced hiatus for a few weeks given the uncanny and unbelievable amplitude of the health care reform debate and the surrounding madness, hysteria, and utter stupidity. Our mouths have not been capable of forming words as they were gaping wide at our television sets and print articles spreading lies on a very simple reform, causing collective and contagious fear through badly interpretated lines, and most importantly, turning a non-negligeable part of the population against an idea that could actually benefit them. Amidst the clusterfuck that is the health care debate, are rising ideologies that have nothing to do with health care itself, or even with Obama’s general policies. Those ideas and beliefs have been deeply rooted into the American subsconscious, patiently waiting for the spark that was going to light their fire. If the November election brought an image of unity, hope, and cooperation, it only took six months to break it all apart and reveal to the world what I can only call the Divided States of Embarassment. (*)

Because there are only so many ways to wade through the waves of information, disinformation, misinformation and other forms of misguided and poorly organized propaganda, here is a little drop-down list of all the little things that have irritated us from the other side of the pond. Let’s guide our wonderful readers through the prism of expatriated and therefore distanced minds.

* Health Care: it is actually good for you.

What people don’t seem to realise is that the health care reform is not a new idea, has not spawned from Obama’s socialist mind, and has been implemented pretty much everywhere else in the world for over sixty decades, with more or less satisfying results. Treating the possibility of universal health care as an alien, strange, and incomprehensible idea is preposterous. More importantly, it’s terribly hypocritical. The embryo of health care already present since the Roosevelt’s New Deal, Medicare and its baby Medicaid, are extremely popular and have helped impoverished populations as well as the elderly maintain themselves at a level close to dignity. The fact that the lack of health care is making Americans vulnerable to diseases otherwise preventable, and resulting in a infant mortality rate close to that of a third world country is a danger to the United States’ economic and social sustainability. (the United States is #46, ranking below Cuba and Burnei according to the CIA World Factbook).  It is high time the United States finally decide to behave like the super power it actually is, but this time domestically. Health care is not a condescending or patronizing government-population approach. It is not an overcontrolling socialist decision. It is not the liberticide change that the GOP is trying to publicize. It is simply what is due to a population from its democratically elected government: the right not to die because you are not rich enough to live.

* Socialism:

Because Eastern Europe and McCarthy gave it a bad name does not mean that the concept in itself has nothing to offer even to the most conservative of nations. There is a lot to say about a government caring about the opportunities and the chances it provides to its own population, especially in times when an entire generation has nothing to face but a flat-lining future, and when workers with a regular income still have to resort to foodstamps in order to feed their families. America’s biggest strength and most reliable ressource is its population. Resilient, hard-working, optimistic and inclined to progress, the American people have helped the country rise to where it was before its economy collapsed. There is nothing wrong in the American people claiming what has always been theirs. Workers who do not have to worry about losing their home or their children are more reliable, more focused, and more socially participative.  America was built on a dream of modernity, independance, change, and forward thinking. The labor market has however been stuck in the fifties. Whilst Europe advanced through the power of unions and social upheaval, thanks to the inclusion of women and the advance of technology, the United States failed to offer its most rewarding workers with the protection they deserved for participating to the nation’s success. It’s a game of give and take, and socialism believes that by giving, thou shalt receive. The degree to which a government is keen to indulge in socialist measure depends on the country’s political inclination; but socialism, in itself, is nothing short of respecting the people for the work they’re accomplishing.

* Now, for the real debate

What should be of public concern regarding a health care reform is not health care in itself, which has been internationally accepted as being a universal necessity, but the funding of a government run program in times with western governments are finding it hard to finance even the most regular of their activities. If the models of the British NHS and the French Social Security are being exposed as major, popular and widely approved successes, those ideas, implemented shortly after World War 2, are also a financial burden the United States might not be ready to undertake. As of 2008, the debt of Social Security in France was over 10 billion euros – the goverment’s deficit being evaluated at about 68% of the GDP (roughly 1 327 billion euros).

Because France has always proposed and developed a thorough and comprehensive health care system offering coverage from pregnancy to widowage pensions, the financial hemorragia is obviously more considerable than that of the NHS (with a predicted £7 billion deficit by 2010). The United States are even more indebted since the national debt has been estimated at approximatively 70% of the GDP. Basic health care coverage can be made available to households with two regular incomes over minimum wage, with the possibility of contracting a private complementary health insurance to cover the most expensive costs (such as dentistry or eyecare). Universal health care can be made available to low-income households, families with several children and cumulating jobs.  Several options are available which do not imply a health care program entirely run and controlled by an overbearing government supposedly concerned by the coming and goings of every citizen, their lifestyle, and their aspirations for themselves and their families. The lies that have been spread by the GOP in order to stop the reform and spread fearmongering among confused voters is nothing short of debilitating propaganda that would deprive a nation of the possibility to finally live their lives to the fullest and give their child a future.

The only debate should be focused on the funding and the financial options available to a government that has until then dispersed its money into bailing out irresponsible bankers. The cost of the crunch with its rising unemployement and ever-growing overindebted households will have a long-term effect that will go way beyond Obama’s administration, with causes rooting way before the Bush administration. It is not a just  a change in governmental policy that is required, but a change in the entire collective thought process, and an imagination overhaul – realising that a different lifestyle is possible.


(*) Line stolen from Eminem, White America.

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