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Failed State?

The fact that Joe Liebermann is currently dictating the course of health care reform is a perfect example of what is so  wrong with our system of government.  At some point in our nation’s history, I’m sure the Senate with it’s non-representative composition and it’s archaic rules made some sense.  But that time has long since past.  The current battle over health care reform is just the latest example of just how broken our system is.  Think about it — the United States, the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, has a health care system that most closely resembles that of Turkey and Mexico.  Yes, along with the U.S. those are the only other developed countries in the world that do not have universal health care coverage.  Our costs for health care are twice the OECD average, and the quality of the health care that is provided is about half of what other countries have (the complete OECD report is here).  Over 22,000 Americans die each year because of lack of health insurance — that’s the equivalent of a 9-11 attack happening every 60 days.  You would think Americans would be abhorred at that.

Health care should be an absolute embarrassment to any true American — legislation providing for universal care along with a public option should have flown through this Congress and by now should be the law of the land.  But here we are, still struggling to get any reform bill passed at all, much less something that will truly bring the country up to the level that the rest of the world has.  And health care is just the tip of the iceberg.  We’ve got an economy that is mired in a deep recession with no end in sight, our educational system is falling behind the rest of the world, we’re still as dependent as ever on foreign oil for our energy.  We’ve been going downhill as a nation for the better part of the last 30 years, and as Krugman notes, unless something drastic is done we are well on our way to becoming yet another failed state.  And that’s not an exaggeration at all.