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Why the United States Will not Get Competent Universal Health Care in my Lifetime
Six Obvious Reasons

by Everett Wilson
November 15, 2013

Why the United States Will not Get Competent Universal Health Care in my Lifetime_Everett Wilson-Six Obvious ReasonsYou want to know why the United States is the only rich nation on the planet without guaranteed health care for its citizens, though we are the richest of the superpowers and believed to be smarter than most? Here are some reasons. I haven’t bothered to rank them in order of importance. The course of events will determine that.

1. The Republican Party will outlive me. I am seventy-seven. The GOP will probably lose the next two elections, but they will wound the Democrats so badly there may not be “one tin soldier” left to march away on either side. The Democrats won’t be able to govern and the Republicans will have forgotten how. Boss Mangan’s political and business strategy applies to today’s Republican Party: “I may not know anything about my own machinery, but I sure know how to stick a ramrod into the other fellow’s.” (Act III of Heartbreak House, by Bernard Shaw.)

2. Over and over again we have listened to Boss Mangan and his followers—people who do not try to get anything done for the common welfare and make it their life goal to see to it that nobody else does either. They know how to stick a ramrod in the works to make sure they don’t work. The best ramrod of all is to amend all the efficiency out of a system in order to please special interests, and then complain that it is too complicated! Appeasing the Republicans made the Affordable Care Act untenable, so after they made sure it wouldn’t work they could holler, “We told you it wouldn’t work!”

3. We could have had a version of it from Richard Nixon during his presidency, but we let scandal derail it. We could have had it from Bill Clinton, but he was hated for his competence even more than Truman had been for his; I was around for both.

We could have had it now, were it not for the ramrods of government shutdown and absurd political dogma.

4. Those who want healthcare as a cash cow for providers and investors will continue to dominate press and advertising.

4. The United States has been a welfare state for seventy-five years or so, but we continue to pretend that we are not.

5. The United States will continue to believe that whatever we do is automatically better than whatever others do, even those who get better healthcare more cheaply.

6. The United States seems to believe that war is a viable foreign policy. So, apparently, do most of the world’s nations. Our war between the states a hundred fifty years ago should have taught us otherwise. Obviously it did not, because there have been six major conflicts since—all of them spilling American blood to mix with that of children near their homes in the soil of faraway lands. We appear more willing to kill those children than to heal our own.

About the Author:
Everett Wilson used to be Barnabas in this column in the days of the second President Bush. His collected columns as Barnabas and as himself are available in one volume from Amazon, entitled Things That Matter.

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