Digby points out the obvious class system that's firmly in place for health care. There are so many exceptions, so much denial of care, we really should start calling it "KatrinaCare." (h/t DCBlogger)
Other countries have systems that prioritize health care treatment on the basis of need --- a triage system. We prioritize health care on the basis of who can pay. And in the most perverse form of rationing there is, we make the sickest people have the most difficult time getting access to health care. (The sickest, after all, can't hold down a job, so the employer based system doesn't really work for them, at least not in the long term.)
And let's not forget: If you get sick while you're on unemployment, they can stop your benefits because you're no longer ready to work!
The idea that the US doesn't ration health care is absurd. We certainly do. We just make people do it to themselves out of economic hardship. I guess that's supposed to be a tribute to our sense of individualism and personal freedom.
Hey, nobody's going to tell you you can't be treated --- you made that decision all by yourself when you opted not to have a lot of money. That's what freedom's all about. (Unless you're sick and you want to die, of course, in which case the state won't let you.)
The debate is really about irrational rationing vs rational rationing -- and the US is the undisputed leader of the first method. When we set our minds to it, nobody can be as irrational as we are.
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