I am willing to accept that many Americans are fed up with the rest of the world telling them they are wrong about so many things – gun control, foreign policy, healthcare, their incorrect use of the word ‘football’ to name but a few – and so yet another blog harping on about the Affordable Care Act and the failure last week to agree a budget is probably not going to go down well.
I realise that the ACA is not particularly liked on either side, but it is the best of a bad job from what I can see, and is a step towards Universal Healthcare, even if that is as likely to be available in America as finding the Quran in the Westboro Baptist Church gift shop.
So I am not going to lecture, recount my experience living in Florida for a year and the different mindset people have over healthcare, or give any negative comments.
I just want to compare healthcare with those things that are provided by the state without question, namely education, law enforcement and fire fighting and prevention.
I’m lucky. In the 52 years I have lived on this planet I have never been trapped in a burning building, had my head stuck in some railings or needed to have one of our cats rescued from the top of a tall tree. And yet for the past 27 years, since I moved out of the family home, a portion of my property taxes have been used to fund the Fire and Rescue Service where I have lived. One day I may need to use them; until then, I am happy to pay my share for the benefit of the whole community.
I have also never been burgled, mugged or had any reason personally to call on the police, but the same thing applies.
I have four children. Two of them have finished school, one of whom is working full-time, the other is deciding whether he wants to go to university, and in the meantime also has a full-time job. My other two are still ‘enjoying’ their schooling, and will do for a few years yet.
I paid taxes that were used to pay for education before I had children, and I shall continue to pay them long after they have all left and gone on to other things. There are many people who do not have any children, but don’t think twice about their taxes being used to educate our children.
The police are there to keep our streets and neighbourhoods safe and as crime-free as they possibly can. The fire-fighters are there to deal with emergencies, and I’m sure the vast majority of people are very glad that they are there. Schools and teachers are there to give our children the best start they can give them with the resources available.
Is healthcare not just as important? Is it not important to keep the population healthy, and treat them when they become sick? Surely this is how the economy stays strong, with a healthy workforce?
Now I know there are many who will argue that using taxes to fund ‘Socialized medicine’ takes away your freedom of choice, amongst many other issues. But just like with education, you can still have that choice. You can currently choose to send your children to a private school. Here in the UK, we can choose to have private health insurance. There’s no difference.
As I said at the beginning, I am not criticising your beliefs or your country. I’m just curious to know why some things can be provided for the good of the nation, but healthcare can’t.