2 a) Relative quality of health care We have the best healthcare system in the world, don’t we? Would you believe that we are # 37th according to the world health organization, behind such countries as Costa Rica & Chile. The following from: Source: WHO World Health Report – The World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems. The following is in rank order, the best to worst. 1 France 2 Italy 3 San Marino 4 Andorra 5 Malta 6 Singapore 7 Spain 8 Oman 9 Austria 10 Japan 11Norway 12 Portugal 13 Monaco 14 Greece 15 Iceland 16 Luxembourg 17 Netherlands 18United Kingdom 19 Ireland 20 Switzerland 21 Belgium 22 Colombia 23 Sweden 24 Cyprus 25 Germany 26 Saudi Arabia 27 United Arab Emirates 28Israel 29 Morocco 30 Canada 31Finland 32 Australia 33 Chile 34 Denmark 35 Dominica 36 Costa Rica 37 The United States
Relative Quality of Life As far as healthy life expectancy goes, a quality of life factor, The US ranks 24th. Following was taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy –
HEALTHY LIFE EXPECTANCY (HALE) Health attainment, level and distribution in all Member States
Disability-adjusted life expectancy at birth (years) Adjusted for years spent in disability
Rank Member State Population Males Females 1 Japan 74.5 71.9 77.2 2 Australia 73.2 70.8 75.5 3 France 73.1 69.3 76.9 4 Sweden 73.0 71.2 74.9 5 Spain 72.8 69.8 75.7 6 Italy 72.7 70.0 75.4 7 Greece 72.5 70.5 74.6 8 Switzerland 72.5 69.5 75.5 9 Monaco 72.4 68.5 76.3 10 Andorra 72.3 69.3 75.2 11 San Marino 72.3 69.5 75.0 12 Canada 72.0 70.0 74.0 13 Netherlands 72.0 69.6 74.4 14 United Kingdom 71.7 69.7 73.7 15 Norway 71.7 68.8 74.6 16 Belgium 71.6 68.7 74.6 17 Austria 71.6 68.8 74.4 18 Luxembourg 71.1 68.0 74.2 19 Iceland 70.8 69.2 72.3 20 Finland 70.5 67.2 73.7 21 Malta 70.5 68.4 72.5 22 Germany 70.4 67.4 73.5 23 Israel 70.4 69.2 71.6 24 United States 70.0 67.5 72.6 And yet our per capita healthcare costs are the 2nd highest among all countries.
One additional site to visit on this topic: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/new-health-rankings-of-17-nations-us-is-dead-last/267045/
Don’t like how we elect? Can it change?
You have most likely seen various emails and other media espousing the merits of Amendment 28? While this deals with numerous reforms, most of which have merit, there is only one that deals specifically with election reform: 1.
TERM LIMITS no more than 10 years in total: A. One six-year Senate term & two two-year House terms.
Amendment 28 is only an idea, but in 2013 there was some action taken as follows, from: http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/28thamendment.asp
“In August 2013, nearly four years after this item began making the rounds on the Internet, two Congressmen (Ron DeSantis of Florida and Matt Salmon of Arizona) did introduce a joint resolution (H.J.RES.55) similar to the proposed amendment, proposing an amendment to the Constitution stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting the citizens of the United States that does not also apply to the Senators and Representatives.” That bill will almost certainly die in committee, and it is exceedingly unlikely that any such broadly worded amendment could ever pass muster in Congress without the underlying idea being subject to a good many qualifications.
Could this amendment be passed without Congress voting on it? Yes and no. Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution specifies two procedures for amendments. One method is for two-thirds of states legislatures to call for a constitutional convention at which new amendments may be proposed, subject to ratification by three-fourths of the states. The constitutional convention method allows for the Constitution to be amended by the actions of states alone and cuts Congress out of the equation — no Congressional vote or approval is required. However, not once in the history of the United States have the states ever called a convention for the purpose of proposing new constitutional amendments. The other method for amending the Constitution (the one employed with every amendment so far proposed or enacted) requires that the proposed amendment be approved by both houses of Congress (i.e., the Senate and the House of Representatives) by a two-thirds majority in each, and then ratified by three-fourths of the states. It’s probably safe to speculate that the odds that a supermajority of both houses of Congress would pass an amendment which placed such restrictions upon them are very low indeed. “
In my opinion there are workable alternatives that can cure our diseased election system, but implementation any time soon is extremely doubtful.
From idealism to reality
I believe that many, if not most, of our elected federal representatives enter their first term in office with the best of intentions, but also viewing this as a first step in a long career in politics. I suspect that it only takes a matter of months for a savvy house member to realize that he or she will need party support to achieve reelection and that effort will need to commence well prior to the election date. I tend to generalize here so I apologize. Not all members fall into this category. A few have such a tremendous level of local support that their reelection is virtually assured. Most also are aware of that the source of campaign funds comes from a relatively few very large sources, whom we might consider investors, “investors” with special interests. It is no wonder that campaigning for political office commences so far in advance of the election date. Is it possible for our representatives to look out for the common good while their focus is on reelection?
The most important element of our election process is funding. While not always true, it is a fact that the candidate with the most campaign money usually is victorious. Removing this factor from our election process would be the first step in the remission process (yes, I do view it as a cancer). Unfortunately the very folks that like it the way it is are the ones with the power to change it, short of a Constitutional Amendment. One way to level the financial playing field would be to do away with PACs & Lobbyist and limit individual contributions to a very low level, say $500 or less per taxpayer. Among others would be to restrict any and all campaigning to the 60 day prior to the election.
Stay tuned, more to follow on this topic