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Priorities: digital television vs universal health insurance

Posted Jul 31 2009 11:54am

Let me state up front that usually I am reluctant to publicly comment on the affairs of another nation;  indeed, whilst I was in local government service, I never even commented on the affairs of another local government authority.

But I sincerely believe that I can claim an exemption with the USA.

The reasons I seek this exemption are:

  • My wife is an Australian graduate of Berkeley and lived for some years there whilst studying.
  • Her work brings her to the USA frequently, and I have been fortunate to accompany her on these trips since our marriage.
  • We continue to maintain friendships in the USA, especially around the San Francisco / East Bay area.
  • We have indeed lived in the USA, albeit for short periods of time (up to 3 months at a stretch).
  • And of course the position of the USA in world affairs means that this position affects those outside the USA.

Having declared this, I now feel OK about making the following observation.

After hearing and reading about the horror stories about medical and insurance funding for health services in the USA (a cursory read of Dialysis from the Sharp End of the Needle shows this), and after following the agonising ongoing debate as to whether there should be a universal health insurance scheme in the USA, I was amazed to learn this week discover the following.

The US Government is offering subsidies to entice people to buy those set-top boxes as part of the switch to digital television.

The subsidy amounts to USD $40 per box.

This certainly shows where national priorities are.

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