It looks as though we might be making some progress towards joining our fellow industrialized democracies (several dozen) which offer their people — citizens and visitors — free medical care.

Four members of my own family have been beneficiaries of such care in two European countries. Actually my daughter studying for a semester in Italy had to pay $25 for the coverage. Another daughter working in a summer program in Britain paid nothing. And my wife and I as students at Oxford 1957-8 had excellent care.

One time when my wife and I had pneumonia a doctor came to our flat and also scolded us for being smokers. When a bag fell and cut my forehead badly while I was working as a heavy freight porter at Oxford station, I had highly professional stitching done by a doctor who saved me from a permanent scar. Britain did not give aliens much in the way of job choices and needing money I took that job rather than working as a stringer for Time Inc. which came with the restriction that I would have to stick with the job for a year, messing up my grad studies. Made some good friends there.

We have not yet made it to single payer medicine, but the present bill looks like a start. Let us hope that we can get there. Our competitor nations pay generally less than half our health costs out of general tax revenues rather than paying huge profits to our medical suppliers and for their bureaucracies and all those ads that haunt us daily.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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