Universal health care. Way past time for US to adopt.
As I've been super busy with various litigation matters heading to trial, I simply not had the time to pay proper attention to the world. However, Kevin Drum (Washington Monthly) has been on fire on the health care issue.
See (well not everywhere, Sir Paul), but here, too.
I strongly recommend reading his links, especially to Ezra Klein.
My three cents:
1. The reason our system is worse than reportable is that our Balkanized system does not keep track of people who fall through the cracks, don't get the type of "maintenance" treatment they need, then have expensive treatment for a few days and die. We all know people (I do at least) who fit within this scenario. The reason most of these people don't get maintenance treatment has to do with the relative lack of access to medical care. What your typical right wing or libertarian fails to note is that nearly every French, German, British, Canadian, or Japanese citizen has a government-based paper trail that the wonks for the right/libertarian axis can use to highlight each person who may still fall through the cracks in each of those nations' systems. Isn't it interesting, per Ezra Klein, how Germany and France may not have long lines, per polling, but that it is difficult to track that in their particular systems. Each system has its particular blind reporting spots, which can be remedied more easily, one should note, in a universal coverage system. Again, that is why our system (calling it a non-system is too kind as there are inputs and outputs) is even worse--and costs twice as much as most of these other nations spend on health care per capita.
2. Next time someone tells you "If we adopt universal care (sometimes called single pay), then our taxes will go up," just say: "Only if you think your premiums you pay to rich bastard corporations are not taxes. Also, if we can save health care costs per capita by losing 1,200 different companies' lawyers, sales and marketing departments, accountants, and obscene sums for executive compensation, you'll pay less overall--unless you're one of those executives making obscene amounts of money."
3. Critics of the Canadian system love to talk about it having less CAT scans per capita than in California (Canada's population is about the same as in California). However, such critics often fail to note that, in Canada, the CAT scans are running throughout the day for use by its citizens, whereas in CA the many CAT scans will go unused throughout major portions of the day (bad allocation of resources, for you economists out there). Second, yes, it is true that Canada's system has not kept up in spending for its system, largely as a result of its losing national wealth from the decline in good paying jobs--it's lost over 400,000 manufacturing jobs and the replacements have been in lesser-paying service sector jobs. That is not a reason to blame the universal coverage system (the link is from Malcolm Gladwell, who has now changed his mind and supports universal coverage).
Finally, Canada's system of health care for many regions was non-existent before Canada introduced universal coverage in the late 1960s. Since then, Canada's universal coverage led to great technological advancements, including and especially in cancer treatment and kidney and liver transplants. I don't have the time to link here, but check out David Himmelstein's and Stephanie Woolander's work at the Harvard Medical School, where they studied this in the 1980s and 1990s.
Kevin Drum, in the second link cited at the beginning of this post, says it is a "mug's game" to try and defend the Canadian system, but I say we should do that, too. I do agree with Kevin, though, that our nation's focus should be on improving access and the health of our nation's citizens. Only through a universal coverage system will these improvements occur.