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McCain perpetuates ignorance about the US health-care system
MARY ANN SORRENTINO
| March 19, 2008
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 climate, is a big problem and getting worse. More recently, he has been fond of noting, incorrectly, that we have “the best health-care in the world.”
In a globally televised March 4 victory speech that was 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. His concluding remarks were drowned out by a torrent of falling confetti and balloons.
The GOP presidential hopeful ought to read the World Health Organization’s (WHO) rankings of global health systems, which places the US 37th. France and Italy top that list, and most of Europe, as well as Costa Rica and even Colombia rank higher than the US. (For details, visit
Cuba, whose government American politicians love to hate, is just below the US on the WHO list.
Though many Americans have been brainwashed into thinking they have “the best” health-care, those who wind up in foreign facilities during trips abroad are often pleasantly surprised at the courtesy, skill, and efficiency they encounter. They are especially impressed that it’s all free. (Those who wish to may pay for care from additional top professionals from their own country or elsewhere.)
More stunning, countries with government-regulated health-care provide decent services for all who need them — even doubting and degrading Americans. Young or old, rich or poor, native, naturalized, or visiting — no one is turned away. It’s not perfect, but it is no more imperfect than the US system.
How do these other countries do it? For starters, they avoid excessive defense spending.
Why do they do it? (Because in at least 36 civilized countries, public health and welfare is a greater priority than in the US.)
Why can’t the US match the health-delivery records of such countries as Andorra, Chile, and Costa Rica, which all rank above it? (Because the medical and pharmaceutical lobbies that own America’s politicians are more powerful than taxpayers.)
With Medicaid and Medicare headed for bankruptcy, prescription drugs grossly unaffordable, and health insurance unavailable for too many Americans, McCain’s blindness to some national faults may be one of the most dangerous — and least obvious — flaws in his candidacy.
While Clinton and Obama’s health insurance proposals aren’t perfect, McCain’s plan to increase privatization 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.
The economy, the war, and other concerns only mask America’s growing public health crisis. McCain, a self-professed champion of “straight talk,” should wake up and recognize this.
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