John McCain should stop flashing a spotlight on what he doesn’t know. He’s already pleaded ignorance about the economy, which, in the current recession, is a big problem. More recently he is fond of noting, incorrectly, that we have “the best health care in the world.”

In a globally televised March 4th speech almost as exciting as a Cialis commercial McCain said this again. In a flat, barely audible voice, he read haltingly from a teleprompter high above his head, forcing him to look heavenward as if seeking divine aid. Periodically, McCain winced inexplicably as if speaking were painful for him. His concluding remarks were drowned out by a torrent of falling confetti and balloons. (The words, “ John McCain is too old and feeble for this.” did not flash across the screen, but they might as well have.) Still, his facts are wrong.

The presidential hopeful ought to read the World Health Organization’s rankings of global health systems, which places the U.S. at 37th. France and Italy top that list, and most of Europe, Costa Rica and even Colombia are ranked higher than the U.S.

Cuba, the government American politicians love to hate, is just below the U.S. on the WHO list.

Though Americans have been brainwashed into thinking they have “the best” health care, those who venture abroad and end up in foreign health facilities are often pleasantly surprised at the courtesy, skill and efficiency of the hospital systems. They are especially impressed that it’s all free.

More stunning, countries with government-regulated health care provide decent services for anyone who needs them—even doubting and degrading Americans of the “Show ‘em a buck and they speak English.” variety. Young, old, rich or poor, native, naturalized or visiting, no one is turned away. It’s not perfect, but it is no less perfect than the U.S. system, plus it’s free.

Those who wish to may pay for additional top professionals from their own country or elsewhere, but even wealth does not preclude eligibility for free government health care.

The web site raises amazing questions.

How do they do it? (By avoiding massive defense spending, for one thing.)

Why do they do it? (Because in at least 36 civilized countries in the world, the public health and welfare is more of a priority than it is in the U.S.)

Why can’t the U.S. match the health delivery records of countries like Andorra, Chile and Costa Rica, all ranked above it? (Because the medical and pharmaceutical lobbies that own America’s politicians are more powerful than the voters who allegedly elect lawmakers.)

With Medicaid and Medicare headed for bankruptcy, prescription drugs grossly unaffordable and health insurance widely unavailable for too many Americans, McCain’s military blindness to national faults may be one of the most dangerous-- and least obvious-- flaws in his candidacy.

While the Clinton and Obama national health insurance proposals aren’t perfect, McCain’s “even greater privatization” plan ignores the embarrassing reality that the richest and most-powerful superpower, enslaved by private health insurers, would rather leave citizens ailing, wounded and unattended than care for them.

National security smokescreens only mask America’s growing public health crisis. Better for John McCain to wake up, answer the “red phone” and hear the national cry for real economic and health care solutions, now!


1 comment:

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Mary Ann Sorrentino

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