Today one of the Chickens asked that my next video be about the American healthcare reform debate. I'm rather reluctant to follow this idea, considering the last time I addressed America as a nation in one of my videos I got called a terrorist (and I was just trying to explain that I think they are funny).
But I figure, what the hell, I'll get some thoughts down here and see what happens. Nobody will care what I write here.
Something that the healthcare debate in the States has really highlighted to me, besides their obvious need for some kind of change in the way their health system functions*, is that their political process is WEIRD. I'm not just talking WEIRD as in I-come-from-a-different-place-and-you-do-things-differently-from-me-how-weird weird, but actually ILLOGICAL-WEIRD. It does not make sense. It is not conductive to the creation of good policy. It's clear that the future of the United States' healthcare does not, in fact, rest with President Obama, but with people (on both sides of American politics) who do not view government and policy as a means to helping people, but as a game that must be won AT ALL COSTS. It doesn't seem to matter how badly the truth gets mangled in the process, but so long as the other side takes a hit, whatever it takes is a good thing.
I'm not about to tell anyone that the same sorts of things don't happen over here in Australia, but some of the distractions that get pulled out in order to muffle the debate in the US are just incredible. Frankly I'm surprised nobody from the Republicans has stood up and said Well actually... euthanasia isn't really the issue we're dealing with here. We're actually talking about how we can best help the sick. Sorry. Surely that wouldn't lose them political points? That would show that they are demonstrably trying to help, or at least constructively criticise what the Obama administration is trying to introduce.
Similarly, I'm surprised nobody from the Democrats has tried to understand where the mainline Republican base is coming from. Instead all I hear over here is that Republicans are demons out to rape and pillage the poor for no reason than their own perverse sense of enjoyment. Surely Republicans can not be this way. What are the conservative thinkers in the party actually suggesting, OR why are they really suggesting that no change is necessary?
Instead of a heated-yet-ultimately-reasonable discussion about what form of healthcare best suits the USA, what we are left with is this political frenzy of noise and static and anguish. The shitty part about it is that in the end nothing gets done and the people (with and without insurance) don't get a better (and cheaper) healthcare system.
*I'm not just going off media hear-say on this one - I have a sister who is an operating theatre nurse in California.