So reportedly the US is the richest country in the world. Supposedly. Let's see what that means. The US is ranked behind Cuba, Denmark, Israel, Germany, Norway, France and Sweden in infant mortality. So out of 1000 babies, 6.30 will die before age 1. We are ranked behind the same countries except for Cuba in life expectancy. We can expect to die at age 78.14 while France enjoys wine and cheese until age 80.87. That's totally unfair. 16 percent of out gross domestic product is spent on health care. The UK spends about 8.3 percent, and despite copious cigar smoking in Cuba, they only spend 7.6 percent. To break that down even further, approximately $6700 is spent annually on each American for health care. Now wait, I thought I was the one that spent that on co-pays and premiums. I had no idea the government contributed! Apparently that includes the 47 million folks that are uninsured as well. The projected expenditure for Medicaid and Medicare for the year 2017 is 1.26 trillion dollars. That's up from 559 billion dollars spent on those two programs in 2007.
Now what's kind sad is the fact that in 1945 President Truman had a plan for a national health program. Unfortunately for us the American Medical Association and the House of Representatives shot it down as a "communist plot." However, as early as the 1910's reformers had a national conference on social insurance and earlier than that, lumber, mining and railroad companies recognized the need for good health among their workers and offered it to their workers to keep up with production.
Let's look at some other statistics now. In my state, which is one of the wealthiest in the nation boasts a population of 283,000 that are food insecure throughout the year. 25% of those that visit food banks are working families. Our state food banks service 350,000 people per year. That's a lot. In 2007, 7.9% of people in my state were living below the poverty level. Guess what the definition of poverty level is? For a family of four you can't make more than $18,100 per year to get some state benefits. Um, that's pretty low. The median value of a home in my state is around $157k which equates to about a $1,265 mortgage payment per month which according to stats is unaffordable for about 60% of the state's population. So, even if you have a shitty apartment in a shitty neighborhood and are food insecure, but you make say, $18,300, you may not qualify for any state benefits because you are too rich. Makes sense doesn't it?
There is a great site called www.nationalpriorities.org. A pretty eye opening website I think. For example, my town contributed something like $168.2 million to the Iraq war effort. This amount of money could have provided health care for 55,577 people. You can put in your town and see what the trade off is for what has been spent on the war so far. Very interesting.
So we are heading into the cold season and oil is at an all time high. I worry about these families, hell, I worry about my own family. Food or heat, medicine or food, clothing or gas to get to work, its pretty scary and I have a good job. I've already hit up people in my department for old coats and shoes for the homeless closet, because God knows, we are going to need it.
7 years ago