fresh voices from the front lines of change







“I don’t understand you Americans. You blow billions on a useless war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and billions more to bail out banks that nearly bankrupted the world economy, but you don’t ensure healthcare for your own people. Even Obama can’t make a difference. It’s as if your democracy doesn’t work anymore.”

Anonymous Man in Budapest

Where There’s a Will

In the first post in this series, I recalled saying something to the effect of “In a country as wealthy as this one, that a single child doesn’t have health insurance or health care is criminal.” The implication is the same implied in the words above, said to Steven Hill by an anonymous European man in a Budapest sauna, after Hill identified himself as an American.

According to Hill, the man’s reaction was typical of Europeans observing our political paroxysms over health care.

He was Austrian but spoke in a near-perfect English that was as good grammatically as that spoken by some of my relatives.

And his reaction was typical. As Europeans watch the United States flailing about over something as basic as healthcare, they are reminded once again of the impotent US response following Hurricane Katrina. TV images of stranded, poor, black people in New Orleans have been melded to those of this new healthcare insurgency with pitch forks, leaving an indelible impression. The last remaining superpower is not looking so super anymore, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, healthcare, the economy – not anywhere.

Can you blame them for wondering why an issue like access to quality, affordable health care for all citizens — a no-brainer to them — is difficult for us that it’s taken almost 100 years for us to get something that their countries got long ago? Can you blame them for wondering if it’s because we can’t do it or because we just don’t want to do it?

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