If people from other countries want a prime example of how stupid and pigheaded we are as Americans, they need look no further than the issue of healthcare reform. Since 1994 when First Lady Hillary Clinton proferred a plan for universal healthcare for all US citizens, the debate about if and how to do this sort of thing rages on.
The reason that this debate is so stupid is that the main arguements made against healthcare reform can actually be applied to the current system, which I like to call "pay or die".
People hold the Candian single-payer system up as a nightmare example, where people have to wait months for treatment and Candians have to pay out of their boots for this substandard care. The irony about Americans making this arguement aginst the Canadian system is hilarious. It's almost as ironic as when Al Sharpton calls someone a racist. You see, Americans spend more money paying for healthcare than any other country in the world, even those with universal healthcare.
As a result, US companies are getting smart on the issue of healthcare reform. Some American companies can't compete with overseas companies that pay their workers 2 cents an hour or with Wal-Mart, who pays their employees 3 cents an hour (1.5 cents if you're a woman).
My only concern is what universal healthcare would look like if it were designed by some of the same people who developed benefits packages for me over the years. The difference in this case is that companies are looking for a way to have someone else pay the rising costs of healthcare (you and me), so it might actually be somewhat comprehensive. In what will surely be a battle of insurance companies versus other corporations who are tired of being gang-raped by Blue Cross and United Healthcare, I am interested to see what sorts of plans arise from this consortium.