By Miles Leicher
Sometimes foreigners ask us why we do things a certain way in our country. Usually, this is because the way we do things doesn’t make any goddamn sense to them. So it should surprise absolutely no one that we have people around the world scratching their heads at our heath care system. This guy is one of them:
I am writing a thesis on the health care reform of 2010 and was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about it to put [in] my paper? Hope you get the time to answer these.
Fan from Norway; Erik Rusten
Hi Erik. I’d be happy to try and answer your questions. But before we get started, I should point out two things: 1) I am not Bill Maher. And 2) Using any of these answers in your thesis will likely result in failure.
1) Can you explain to me what you think are the main differences between the Republicans’ and the Democrats’ view on this reform?
Generally speaking, Democrats support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because it will eventually end up providing health care to about 30 million citizens who don’t currently have access to it. It also forces private insurance companies to show a minimal amount of human decency toward people.
Republicans generally oppose it due to the “individual mandate” that requires each citizen to purchase a government-approved health insurance plan, or face a fine. Many claim that this is an attack on our individual liberties, a thumb in the eye of freedom and an insult to the memory of Dale Earnhardt (he drove cars around in circles while drunk people watched).
Living in Norway, you are likely familiar with the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, which is a national insurance plan that all citizens and guest workers pay into and in return receive heath care and pension benefits. That system is much simpler and more economical; however, it does make reference to some sort of “scheme” and, since Americans are afraid of words, it would never fly here. Let’s wrap this up before someone realizes I’m corresponding with a “socialist.”
2) Can the American economical situation affect the future of this reform, and why/why not?
The economy can, and likely will, be used as a political tool over the coming years to fight over these new regulations. Democrats will probably tout the cost-reducing benefits of the plan over the long-term. Republicans may try to paint it as an additional monetary burden on already over-leveraged families. The public will carefully consider the arguments of each side, and then believe whoever is holding the shiniest set of keys.
3) What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the current health care system?
Strengths: We get what we pay for.
Weaknesses: We pay a shit-ton of money. Or we don’t, but then we die.
4) How do you think Obama’s execution of this reform has been?
Considering that the Republicans in Congress have been huge di**wads about every single item on President Obama’s agenda, I think it is absolutely amazing that he managed to push this reform through. That said, I will continue to complain about his reluctance to pursue anything resembling a national health insurance plan. As a side note, please don’t use “execution” and “reform” in the same sentence. Sarah Palin will think we brought back the death panels.
5) If there is one country´s health care program you admire which is it, and why?
Now you’re just fishing for a compliment…