Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I think the goal you outline is good.  And I respect many aspects of the various European systems.  I think both sides can learn from the other.  It would be very helpful if we could lay out comparative data on income, across a number of countries.  I think it could make the discussions much more productive if we had such a fact base to refer to when we make our comments.  I think asdf agreed in your earlier dialogue that it would be good, if the data was comparative and included European countries.  

But it's quite daunting to tackle issues and hope to solve them that are as large as poverty, and healthcare.  Sure it's disturbing to hear 45 million people are uninsured.  But it's also disturbing to know that nationalized healthcare systems ration healthcare through waiting lists, and many are far, far behind the US in terms of healthcare technology.  I have lived in an nationalized healthcare system, and the American system.  Each has +/-'s.  If I have a serious healthcare problem, there is no question that I would want to be treated in the US.  

And there is so much discussion to have around each one of those statements--45 million uninsured, waiting lists, lag in technology.  Each of those requires a pretty indepth knowledge of the various systems, and the tradeoffs between the various systems.  Do the 45 million not receive healthcare?  Some of them are 20's and 30's working in high tech startups, choosing not to pay for health insurance.  Some of them get healthcare at hospitals as they can not be turned away legally--all hospitals have indigent care budgets, recognizing their need to care for the uninsured--is that an efficient way to handle them--of course not.  But is a one year waiting list for hip replacements for the elderly an efficient way?  Of course not.  Every one of the above comments can be debated, shown to be true some place, not others.  So I guess my answer to your questions on the 45 million, or on bashing, is that often it seems the pot calling the kettle black.  It's interesting because when I first came on this site, someone from Europe was basically making this last point about the "free marketers", I believed they called them--in that they were just on the attack against the more socialist European models.  So I think they were also complaining about bashing.  The lack of a fact base we can agree on probably condemns us to this feeling--because someone arguing the opposite side as you, will have a mental framework they are relying on, and you don't know their framework--and if you did, you might challenge it.

So sorry for the disorganized nature of the above thoughts.  But I guess I'm supporting both your and Coleman's efforts to lead an effort to develop, or more hopefully, find existing data bases that we can use.  Let me close this, and drop you a second note on the WSJ article.

by wchurchill on Thu Oct 13th, 2005 at 02:57:23 AM EST
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