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The US Healthcare Conversation Is Shifting Toward Universal Care – Part 3

[Previously on The US Healthcare Conversation Is Shifting Toward Universal Care: Drugs, guns, health insurance … no blanket bans, no crazy witch-hunts. Favor regulation instead of prohibition in one area, and you have to favor it in all others, too, lest you become a hypocrite, plus your own worst enemy, giving grounds to the opposition to resist your demand for regulation when your favorite staple comes up in turn.] 

If only the US electorate would experience a change of heart regarding climate change, just like it seems to be doing with healthcare — has been doing so over the past eight years, shifting the crux of the debate toward common-sensical arguments — things would turn up.

The need to not shit where one eats or hangs out, for example — how about that? It would be a good start. Another way to put it, in jargon terms, is: How to manage our waste products with extreme care, making sure they don’t find their way back inside our mouths and skin and lungs.

You’d think an argument like this would go without saying.

If only the US electorate got the point, sooner rather than later, later rather than never — the sooner the better, and we need better, desperately — the sooner this takes place, the US may start leading again on issues that make a positive and healthy difference.

Ditto for US politicians and their parties. Some of them seem hell bent on burning all the coal on the planet before getting the facts through their thick, ideologically-driven heads.

And we call America the land of pragmatism. Not so, at least not at the moment.

For now it’s all about ideology and extremes — about either punishing corporations for using coal and other fossil fuels (wrong approach; incentives to use green technology would be a much better way to go) or burning the planet down to a crisp and calling it ‘job creation.’ It’s all about either over-liberalizing guns or banning them altogether; about legalizing drugs or banning them altogether; and, of course, we have the assault on universal health insurance with the pretext of creating more jobs at the expense of the country’s overall health and stability in the coming years. It’s all about an ideology so full of itself, a set of ideologies so bereft of common sense, so devoid of substance, they feature callous and mean on the political horizon, digging their own graves.

By the way, to be fair, the previous eight years were all about an effort to regulate guns (logical) but it was all coming from a place that ultimately wanted guns to be prohibited, which is an over-regulation, which is the mirror image of over-liberalization, and, thus, equally misguided.

There was also a sense of legitimizing the so-called panacea of big government during the past eight years, which, again, is not the right place to be coming from. Universal health care is one thing, but relying on the public sector to do what is right is the kind of baloney that got the Soviet Union in trouble, one innocuous ideological misstep at a time. Let’s not mention Venezuela, Romania, China, Kazakhstan, Libya, Belarus, Mongolia . . .

As for Scandinavia, functional socialism’s poster child, the sad news is, the ride is over. The system is in need of reform, plus it depended on a mind-your-own-business policy. No immigration, no real diversity, or any kind of frontlines agenda. Scandi socialism worked because it cut a little corner of the world for itself and bunkered in, everyone pretty much stepping in line.

Hardly the stuff of a vibrant, world-leading paradigm. Good for what it was, no doubt, but to each one’s own. Respect the system, yes, it was successful, but live in it, well, it’s an acquired taste.

Plus, like I said, it’s eroding/collapsing under the weight of new realities.

So much for socialism and the panacea of the public sector. There are no panaceas, neither in the public sector nor in the private one. It takes effort to make things work, all of it derived from a combination of factors, replacing what doesn’t work with what does. Pragmatism rooted in common sense, not profiteering, or carnation moralism, is what fixes things. Doing what is necessary, as and when.

As for US drugs policy — back to the US we go — it was an amazing turnaround, an extraordinary feat. In the past eight years the tide was turned, bringing about the regulation of drugs that were demonized Salem-style for decades. A mindless, unscientific, self-defeating prejudice was finally reversed, setting a new trend, allowing these chemical substances to be used in medical research, in the treatment of cancer patients; people suffering from PTSD; people suffering from addiction.

But let’s not get carried away by what happened. These redeemed substances, from marijuana to MDMA (ecstasy) to the psychedelic menagerie of mind-boggling tools such as LSD and psilocybin (magic mushrooms), among others, are useful when used, not abused. No panacea there either, dear ideologues, no return to the sweet sixties with its flower power parties and its sit-down-and-sing-along-with-no-care-in-the-world MO. It doesn’t work that way. Abuse these substances, and we have a problem. Use them — as and when — and we take a step forward as a civilization.

Guns, drugs, healthcare. Three major areas where we can’t afford to be stupid with ideology. The sooner we apply them with common sense, in a pragmatic manner, ditching the witch-hunts for smart regulation, the faster we turn a page, starting a new chapter in our civilization’s development, doing justice to the technological and cultural knowledge we’ve amassed thus far.

Let’s not forget climate change, perhaps the number one issue of this century. Fail to address it decisively and we plunge ourselves in deep, murky waters. Not figuratively this time.

The decision of the US administration to pull out of the Paris Agreement is a tragedy.

Let’s hope that US states and cities will take it upon themselves to uphold what their current administration is forsaking.

Time to apply some good old sober pragmatism to the way we deal with our surrounding environment, ensuring we have a healthy space inside which to apply our development.

Until then, it will be one step forward, two steps back, three steps forward, two back, then four back, one step forward, one to the side, one by the wayside — a slow, self-negating, torturous way of making progress.

Hell knows how long we’ll last if we go down that route. The vast majority of scientific experts say we have limited leeway before the environment shifts in ways that affect life as we know it, and they’re not talking a change for the better. They’re talking about global catastrophe, and I believe the(vast-majority-of-the)m.

Then again, the way to heaven is a hellish process. Our torturous dance may be part of our nature. Reach the brink and stare disaster in the face before we snap out of it and get it together.

Still, I have hopes that we may yet surprise ourselves, at least on these issues, these ideas whose time has come, around which we may yet coalesce, e pluribus unum-style, before calamity strikes.

Let the slow turn toward universal healthcare, the AHCA notwithstanding, lead the way.

From your soberly spherical Spin Doctor,

Eyes open, mind sharp.