When the USA first came into existence, the bill of rights and constitution were an attempt to guarantee that the government could never take away the basic rights of individuals. The problem is that there’s nothing preventing corporations from gaining and abusing power over individuals. Any hope for the government to keep a check on corporate power was lost when Reagan was elected, if not earlier.Take the health care system in the US. It is run by private corporations, is inefficient, expensive and doesn’t provide the best care available. The cost of simply being insured in the US has skyrocketed in the last 6 or so years. The UK has a national health care system in which:
- Everybody is covered
- Per person, it costs less than half what people pay in the US
- Private health care is available if you want it.
I’ve recently lived in both systems. I had a high quality employer-provided health care plan in the US until April 2006. Since then I’ve lived in Scotland and take part in the National Health Service (NHS). Due to living a daring and dangerous lifestyle, and recently having had baby daughter, both my wife and I have had our fair share of visits to medical professionals in both countries. We couldn’t be more pleased with the level of care we’ve gotten and dread the day that we have to go back into the US system.The UK health system is so much better than the US system that I am shocked when I hear people in the US rant that they don’t want the government in charge of their health care. Would you rather your health care be run by corporations whose sole purpose is to make money and whose only way of making money is to prevent you from getting health care?What is it that makes people think government run services are so inefficient? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that 95% of broadcast news is filtered through the same corporations that are raking in big bucks doing things that the government would otherwise be doing (usually more efficiently).Is it efficient for the US military to outsource things like truck driving and mess hall operations in Iraq? Hell no – it is wildly more expensive. Yet the taxpayers are shelling out a (starting) salary of $125k for KBR truck drivers when it used to pay $17k for US military drivers. Which option do you think is more efficient? Makes it easy to understand how the US is blowing $30 BILLION dollars a week in Iraq. It also makes it obvious that this war is nothing but a transparent profiteering opportunity for companies like KBR (Halliburton), Blackwater, etc.Health care in the US is currently run by the domestic equivalents of KBR, Blackwater, etc. I don’t think there’s much hope that more politicians can or will stand up to the corporate media whose favor they need in order to get elected. My greatest hope is that change can come from the bottom up. If one US state can provide a real health care system then there might be a chance at sanity.[random note: MarsEdit makes it way too easy to put your personal rants onto a public weblog]