Friday, August 04, 2006

Health CareLast October my dad started experiencing stomach pains. At first he ignored it, dismissing the discomfort as an unusually violent case of indigestion. After a couple of months the pain became more frequent and more severe. Occasionally he woke up in the middle of the night clutching his stomach and moaning in agony. My dad's a tough guy, he worked for a retreading company for seven years, lugging and tugging semi tires around a large garage and stacking them in piles taller than his head, over time this puts a tremendous strain on the joints, needless to say his pain threshold is high. So it was a surprise to everyone when he said he needed to see a doctor. However, we couldn't afford one, my dad had little choice but to suffer silently. Nearly six months later he reluctantly made the call.

Thankfully it wasn't life-threatening, but he's still paying the medical bills today. This scenario is far from anecdotal, studies show more and more American families can tell similar stories and everybody feels the burden. That's why I'm baffled, why can't a proposal for Universal Health Care gain traction in the U.S.? With gas prices on a steady climb, the national minimum wage stagnating at a scant $5.15/hour and stricter bankruptcy laws the average American can't tighten their belts any further. No wonder social mobility has practically faded into memory, Europe - you know, those dreaded Socialist countries - well surpass us in this arena. Europeans revere their welfare state, over here it's shunned. Not every person requires a mansion complete with Porsche and Yacht, I just think in an industrialized nation - especially the richest of all nations - everybody should assist in providing a minimum standard of living. A logical first step would be universal health care. But until we reach that point I guess the moral is: If you want to live the American dream, move to Norway.

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