By John Ballard
The health care reform beat is making me tired. Same old stuff all the time.
But this was left in a comment thread at The Health Care Blog and it's worth keeping. Readers can check out the post, of course, but most readers here are already on the same side of the issue. But this comment is broader than the content of the post and deserves more prominence than it will receive lost in a bunch of other comments.
Probably the only way to really understand another country is to live there. Everything you say squares with what a friend who has lived in Canada for many years tells me. Another friend, who lived in France for a number of years, told similar stories about care there. My step-son and his wife had their first baby in Germany. Great, patient-centered care in a hospital that didn't look like a resort, but provided excellent care.
My friend who lived in France said that there health care system is so good because "The French feel that nothing is too good for another Frenchman."
Unfortunately, Americans do not feel that way about each other.
This helps explain America's poor being caught in a cycle of poverty. We don't put the money into public education that would help many people break out of the cycle. Our classrooms are too crowded, particularly in schools located in low-income areas. A high student-teacher ratio means that students who learn at different rates don't get the attention they need.
When it comes to special ed, children with emotional problems (anxiety, rage, ADD) are thrown into special ed classes with children who are mentally retarded. The angry children bully the retarded children.
Often, the schools themselves are old, dirty and crumbling. Windows that don't open haven't been washed in years. Even in NYC, (where school lasts until the end of June) many classrooms don't have air-conditioning.
Imagine trying to learn (or teach) in a stifling 94 degree classroom packed with 26 sweaty bodies?
Visit public schools in Canada, or France, and you will see the difference.