To the editor:
In the media’s current hubbub surrounding health care town-hall unruliness, a stark fact has gone missing. The U.S. lags embarrassingly behind other industrialized nations in an easy-to-understand benchmark of well-being.
According to the CIA’s “World Factbook,” the U.S. ranks 50th in life expectancy, just one place ahead of Albania. Living much longer than Americans are citizens in countries with single-payer, government funded health programs such as France, the United Kingdom and Canada. I can’t think of a better argument for reform.
Last year, my 32-year-old cousin studying in Toronto was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel and liver cancer. The speed, thoroughness and kindness of her medical care under the Canadian system wowed all of us back home in Lawrence.
Included in my cousin’s care, in addition to radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, was the harvesting and fertilization of nine of her eggs, so that someday she may have a family, in spite of her radiation. In the U.S., how much would that have cost out-of-pocket? That is, if one was lucky enough to have had insurance in the first place.
Understanding that government-funded programs across the globe lap the U.S. in prolonging life and giving quality health care would shut up even the loudest town-hall ruffian, if only plain facts could be made known above the din.