America gets more civilised

5 April 2010

America gets more civilised

President Obama has saved it: his plan for health care insurance for all Americans has passed in the House of Representaatives. The more than forty million Americans who currently have no form of insurance to cover the costs of health care will now be helped. The United States has thus become a more civilised country. And that's worth a message of congratulations to all those people who have worked for decades to achieve this, as well as to President Obama and the Democratic Party.

by Jan Marijnissen

Jan MarijnissenNot a single Republican in the House voted for the new law. Every one was against, mobilising everything to put the Democrats under pressure, abusing the President – He's just as bad as Hitler! - in an attempt to kill the plan. Without success.

I've been to the US a number of times, and nobody has ever been able to explain to me why it would be so difficult to introduce a law of this kind. All I ever heard was that, in contrast to Europeans, many people in the States believe that the role and the influence of the government should be as small as possible. 'Washington' is often seen as the enemy seeking to limit freedom and regulate markets. The government is a priori suspect and government interference seen as illegitimate, as 'communist' or 'fascist'.

My suspicion is that the credit crisis has persuaded Americans too that government interference is sometimes necessary. Because isn't it the case that if the government had forbidden the banks from fiddling with mortgages, people would have been spared a great deal of misery?

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