Public healthcare works. Ask any American senior citizen. The Washington Post's Harold Meyerson explains:
...a funny thing happens to Americans’ life expectancy when they
age. The U.S. mortality rate is the highest of the 17 nations until
Americans hit 50 and the second-highest until they hit 70. Then our
mortality ranking precipitously shifts: By the time American seniors hit
80, they have some of the longest life expectancies in the world.
What gives? Have seniors discovered the Fountain of Youth? Do U.S. geriatricians outpace all our other physicians?
Part of the answer is Darwinian: Those Americans who have been less able
to access reliable medical care, maintain good diets and live in
neighborhoods that are not prey to gun violence have disproportionately
died off before age 80. That isn’t natural selection but social
selection — the survival of the economically fittest in a nation that
rations longevity by wealth.
But the larger part of the answer is that at age 65, Americans enter a
health-care system that ceases to be exceptional when compared with the
systems in the other 16 nations studied. They leave behind the private
provision of medical coverage, forsake the genius of the market and
avail themselves of universal medical insurance. For the first time,
they are beneficiaries of the same kind of social policy that their
counterparts in other lands enjoy. And presto, change-o: Their life
expectancy catches up with and eventually surpasses those of the French,
Germans, Britons and Canadians.
In other words, public healthcare works just fine for Americans if only they're lucky enough to make it to 65 in order to get it. Meyerson concludes:
What’s truly exceptional about America, it turns out, is the
indifference we show to our compatriots, the absence of the kind of
national solidarity more evident in the nations that surpass us on all
these lists. Mitt Romney may have lost the election — thankfully — but
his relegation of 47 percent of his fellow Americans to history’s scrap
heap evinces a spirit that suffuses all too many of our institutional
arrangements and social relations. So Americans don’t live so long. So