Sunday May 19, 2013
The American Myth: 'We Are Number One'Joe Clifford Salem-News.com
Why do we have the highest costs for cell phones, prescription drugs and health care?
(JAMESTOWN, RI) - Americans who think we have the best of everything in the world are sadly mistaken, and one has to wonder why Americans hold this false belief.
A look at four integral items important to all, demonstrates our deficiencies when compared to other industrialized nations. We think we are ahead of, or better than, the rest of the world in internet technology because the internet was an American invention, however we lag far behind the rest of the industrialized world in internet access, speed, and price. This has resulted because internet delivery in other nations is a very competitive business which results in competitive prices for consumers, while in this country the US government has allowed giant corporations to monopolize internet delivery. Are you satisfied with your internet provider? If not what are your choices? Why can't you have more choices? Government has made it virtually impossible to establish a new and competitive internet deliverer, so you are at the financial mercy of a monopoly protected by government. Other nations would not tolerate the slowness of US internet speeds, or the ridiculous price charged by the monopoly.
Our health care is another item we all need, but we lag far behind the rest of the world in both cost and quality. Most Americans believe however, we have the best health care in the world because of a manipulative media, while in reality we have one of the most expensive systems in the world, and one of the least effective health care systems in the world. According to a study done by the Wall Street Journal, the US pays 141% more on health care per person than people in industrialized nations. If we were as efficient as countries with the best health care, this country could save enough money to pay off one third of the nation's debt. Despite criticism by mainstream media of the Canadian health care system, polls show that about 80% of the Canadian population is satisfied with their system and even Mexico is quickly surpassing the US in health care coverage. Why do most Americans think they have the best of health care, when compared to the industrialized world when we don't? Is it the quality of health care that makes us so good? No, because studies indicate we are at best, average in that category.
Prescription drug costs in the US are the highest by far in the world and pharmaceutical companies are the most profitable in the world. One reason for this is because of the protection the US government offers pharmaceutical companies with patent protection. Drugs in Canada cost about one third of the US, because the Canadian government does not protect the patent rights of Canadian pharmaceutical companies like the US government does to American pharmaceutical companies. In Canada, rapidly expiring patents allow for generics to become more rapidly available to consumers.
A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development revealed that in one category we are in fact number one, and that is in the cost of your cell phone service. Their study illustrates that Americans pay more for their cell phone service than any other nation in the industrialized world. Their study found that we pay about $53 for the package the study used for comparison, while the people of the Netherlands paid $11 for the same package.
Why do we have the highest cell phone service, the highest prescription drug costs, the highest cost of health care, and one of the most expensive internet costs in the world? Because the American government and the US Congress are controlled by the giant corporations, and have allowed them to create monopolies in healthcare, cell phone, internet, and drugs. Campaign contributions have corrupted the system and allowed corporations to gain exclusive control of the Congress, and therefore services we all need. Such is the price of living in a "Corporatocracy", where corporations get what they want, and the people get gouged.
_________________________________Salem-News.com Writer Joe Clifford, lives in historic Jamestown, Rhode Island, and has contributed a number of articles relating to foreign policy to newspapers in the Rhode Island area for years.
He graduated from Providence College where he earned an undergraduate and graduate degree. After a lengthy career as a high school teacher he turned to the study of US foreign policy, and then to writing, as a means of expressing an alternative perspective. His reading and research on foreign policy is broad and extensive, especially as the policy relates to the Middle East. His interest in foreign policy was inspired by the American misadventure in Vietnam. You can write to Joe at this address: email@example.com
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