We have a health care system in which the poorest slip through the cracks and seek emergency room care that we have to foot the bill for just the same. In fact, the price is even higher because those without health insurance almost invariably stave off seeking medical assistance they really can't afford until problems are indeed emergencies and thus require the most expensive and prolonged treatments.
By contrast, we currently have a universal education system... though no one calls it that. While it is flawed in many ways, I don't hear many serious calls to do away with it because we know that all kids need to stay in school.
Imagine if the public waited to get an education until they had to. We don't wait for children to say they want to learn to read or do math before we set them on a program to teach them. If we waited until they really needed it, they wouldn't get around to learning basic skills until they were asked to fill out a job application or count down a cashier's drawer.
For those that don't know, I used to be a public high school teacher and have a masters in education. Although I have plenty of criticisms of the public education system, one of the expressions I heard along the way in my teacher education program sums it up: "If you think education is expensive, consider the alternative." The gist of this pithy statement is that if tax payers weren't willing to pay for the education of all levels of society, they'd be looking at playing a lot of catch-up somewhere down the line... such as teaching programs in the prison system.
So why aren't we proactively covering all
our tax-paying population for the most basic treatments the way they do
in Canada, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Finland, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland,
Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal,
Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United
Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Cuba, Uruguay, Israel, Japan,
New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Seychelles, Sri Lanka,Taiwan, and
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