Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Health Care and the Military

I try not to be too political on this blog but I feel this needs to be said.

My sister has returned from the hospital after a week long battle with pyelonephritis which is a fancy word for a kidney infection. From her Facebook posts it seems she had similar experiences in the emergency room that Marilyn and I have had. They did their level best to ignore her until her fever spiked to 106.

I can only say that Wendy and I have never had such experiences in Spain and when comparing notes with our friends in France, they haven’t had them there either. Anyone who tells you national health care will automatically make things worse is flat out lying to you. It COULD make things worse, I’m not denying that, as some countries do have long waiting lines or shortages or other problems. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are countries that have national health care and it works a lot better than the system we have in the US.

Wendy and I have never waited in the emergency room in Spain for longer than thirty minutes.

When we call a doctor to have something checked out, they ask if the next morning is good for us or do we need today? In the US people are routinely told “We can see you in three weeks, does that work for you?”

Doctors here still make housecalls, especially if you have a hundred and six degree fever.

Wendy had to go into the hospital for a few days a couple years ago and the service she received there was better than what Marilyn received when she had cancer and her multiple visits to the hospital.

But how will we pay for it you ask? Well, that’s something else I wanted to touch on that is related.

Do you know what we spend on our military? To put it in perspective for you, there is an ordered list on Wikipedia on what countries spent on their military in 2009.

The US is first of course.

If you combined the expenditures of the next SIXTEEN countries on the list, it would finally add up to what we spent.

The cold war is over. We are the only super power left in the world.

Why do we still have military bases in over a hundred and fifty countries? Each one of those bases requires food, personnel (who obviously draw a salary), weapons, water, electricity, equipment, etc.

Each one.

Why do we have bases in over a hundred and fifty countries around the world? And that’s not just one base in each country. Many countries have multiple bases. Why?

How about we close bases in, say, a hundred and twenty-five countries and use those savings to fund health care, better our educational system, fix up massive amounts of decaying infrastructure and maybe plant some flowers? Or cut taxes for the rich again. One or the other.

How about that?


  1. There is the argument that as the worlds only remaining military superpower, we act as the policemen for the entire world. Think of the world as a classroom full of unruly 3rd grade boys, and we are the nun standing at the front of the classroom holding a ruler, ready to slap the hand of anybody who misbehaves.

  2. I'm aware of that argument and I used to agree with it. Nowadays I don't. There are places in the world that need to evolve. One side needs to eradicate the other or they need to finally settle differences and make peace. There are countries in the world that have been at war for hundreds of years. What are we supposed to do about the Middle East that hasn't already been tried? What are we supposed to do about the endless violence in almost every country in Africa? We can't even stabilize Iraq or Afghanistan. I'm done with America being policemen to the world. Some places are beyond help. Until another Hitler comes along we should just draw back troops and stop being the world's policeman.

  3. Not to mention that even if you are "the world police" (which i think is up for debate) no one is paying you to be the world police, that's partly why it costs to much.

    It's great that america want's to help the world (as long as that helping meets up with it's own goals) but doing it at the cost of it's own citizens well being is abhorrent.

    That military spending statistic always cracks me up and makes me sad at the same time, the US is less than 5% of the worlds population, sure you are an important country on the global stage but wow is that military spending disproportionate to the size of your country.