There were many personal anecdotes of experiences with the health care syst em, military and civilian, but nobody really addressed the topic of medical care which in the U.S. is commodified as an "industry" rather than a publi c good.
"When I was living in Europe, a member of my family was treated, long-term, for a very serious condition, without a penny of cost, even though neither of us was a national of that country.
Allow me to reiterate that physicians in many developed countries -- I only know specifically about European countries, so am extrapolationg -- comple te their medical studies at government expense.
No sky-high tuition bills from for-profit universities. No crushing debt l oad for the first 15-20 years of practice. No wild divergence in physician -hospital fees between practitioners and institutions. No drive to special ize in big money practices like plastic surgery. In return,physician oblig ed to devote 'n' years to (more or less) government assigned practice, mean ing often working in under-served communities.
Sounds like a win-win to me. In those countries, health care is not consid ered an "industry" --I wince every time I hear that term --but a public goo d.
Those governments must have figured out that $1 spent on preventive health care and affordable care for existing conditions saves $100's of dollars do wn the line in social costs that we pay out of our other tax pocket."
The usual comments on this kind of suggestion lean heavily to "...they have to wait months/years for a procedure... whereas we in the US can get it fa st .
Yeah, sure, if you have insurance or can pay out of pocket. If not, you're basically fracked. Leaves out a large segment of the population
The public seems to have a very hard time understanding that if we don't em phasize preventive care*, and don't make medical care available to all, we pay for it ANYWAY in the form of social costs for damage done to and/or by impaired individuals who didn't get care in time.
*For just ONE example: In most "developed" countries, qualified profession als follow new mothers and babies in their homes for a period after the bir th to make sure there are no complications. In the U.S., where childbirth for a while was handled like a McDonald's drive-through until outrage force d some retrenchment, there were many cases of babies having to be rushed ba ck to the hospital because of undiagnosed post-natal problems. Enormous co st that could have been avoided by a much less expensive program as describ ed above.
(steps down from podium)