Continental view of New World Healthcare

A week ago I saw and old friend from the Netherlands.  He was born there and has lived there his entire life.  I’ve known him for almost 12 years and he visits me once or twice a year.  He told me that as soon as he landed in New York that he bought a couple newspapers and read up on the latest goings-on.  He knew a little about the healthcare debates, but not much more.

After reading the papers, he said that he couldn’t understand one thing about the debate.  He said he couldn’t understand why EVERYONE is does not support healthcare for everyone.  He said he could understand the debate over how to pay for it, but for him it seemed like a given that universal care should be supported by all.  He could not understand opposition.  He didn’t say it as a political point of view.  He said it as a puzzled outsider.  Why wouldn’t everyone have healthcare in America?  In his words, “Why doesn’t everyone have health coverage in the US, the richest nation in the world?”  Arguing over how to pay for it is one thing, but shouldn’t everyone agree in principle that all should be covered?

I tried to explain to him the whole ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ thing of the American psyche.  I don’t think he really understood completely the extent of America’s individualist bent; the each man for himself mentality.  He was just puzzled.  Why not cover everyone, always?  I really could not give a good reason to him other than that’s the way we’ve always done it – when we’ve done anything at all.


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