I emigrated from a country that has universal (more or less) health care. It’s not something that I though a lot about at the time as I was much younger.
When I saw my first few pay checks after things settled down I will admit to being absolutely astonished over how much of my earnings I actually got to keep. People in these United States who grouse about the amount of money that is claimed from them in the form of the many taxes listed on pay stubs have literally no.freaking.idea what high taxation means.
After a few years of this ongoing windfall, after some dealings with the horror-fest we call the American Health Insurance industry, it began to weigh more and more upon my consciousness that I was exactly one catastrophic accident or illness away from complete and utter financial ruin.
Here’s the thing about catastrophic anything. You don’t choose it. It “chooses” you. I don’t care how careful or pious a life you lead. Wonderful people develop debilitating illnesses. That inexperienced kid driving their dad’s sports car will over correct and smash into you just as easily as they could have smashed into the person driving 3 seconds behind you.
Of course nothing is ever perfect. Everything is a package deal. You love your job, but there are always things that could be improved. You love your spouse, but… well let’s not go there. But you get what I mean. I *love* America and what it has to offer and am one of the very few people on this planet who is fortunate (lucky?) enough to be able to live here and participate in the most amazing social, cultural and political experiments that the world has seen up until now.
However, with all the opportunity available to us as Americans, there are areas where significant improvements are still possible and needed. For me, at my stage in life and my perspective of formerly living in a country where – largely – health care is not a hulking specter but rather an every day availability, I recognize that we need to get off our collective asses and stop paying lip service to the idea that maybe it would be nice if the greatest country this world has ever seen wasn’t at the bottom of nearly every measure of health and wellness. Dammit, we should be the absolute longest-lived people on the planet! Infant mortality should not even be a concern for soon-to-be American mothers. U.S. Citizens absolutely should not need to travel abroad in order to be able to afford some kinds of major surgery (medical tourism).
There are plenty of proposals, emotions and political biases that are battling on the American health care landscape. And not one.single.one of them will be the perfect answer. We will never come up with a system that serves every American optimally all the time.
But you know what we deserve? A system that doesn’t view the patient as a nuisance to be attended to in order to extract every last possible penny from insurance, government and personal coffers.
And so, after years of voting on myriad important issues at the local, state and national levels – and regularly finding my vote completely overwhelmed by partisan politic slogan-based voting of others whose rationale can make sense of neither by logic, math nor morality – I have decided to toss my hat into the ring of single issue voters.
This is not because it’s easier (in some ways it is nicer to only have to care about the one position of a candidate) but because each candidate in each race will comprise myriad positions on a myriad of issues – some of which I may agree with, many of which I won’t – but they come as a package.
So now, Universal Health Care is my primary issue of concern. I think our country and our citizenry is deserving something other than this current travesty of inefficient and patch-worked pieces.