Donald Draper, er, Dick Whitman, um, John Boehner! loves to go on the tube with his drunk, tan face, and say that America has the “finest health care system in the world.” Do we really, though, Boehner? Hells naw. We’re not even Rwanda.
In Rwanda, 96% of people have health insurance. They have a per-capita income of $550 a year. And they have the most beautiful, gleaming, hospitals in all of central Africa.
Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president, wants to turn his country into ‘the Singapore of Africa,’ and he’s off to a nice start. Before you can succeed economically, you must be able to stave off malaria. Like Rwanda, and umpteen other places, Singapore has universal health care for its citizens. And a well-earned rep for being business-friendly – go figure, Republicans.
The benefits have been clear: In the last 10 years, since the implementation of their state-run healthcare system, the average Rwandan life expectancy has risen from 48 to 58. The mortality rate for children under 5 has been cut in half and the number of deaths by malaria has been cut by 2/3. They’ve built a comprehensive and modern healthcare system from scratch and have done so for much cheaper than their neighbors, by using design in place of technology when possible:
[L]ouvred windows set on high walls allow air to rise away from patients and be naturally ejected by huge, slow-moving fans on the ceiling. He said the design itself was able to change the air in Butaro’s wards more than 12 times per hour – a feat which normally requires multimillion-rand scrubbing machines.
See what happens when profit is taken out of the health care equation? Ingenuity, seen above, and efficiency, seen below:
While the new 300-bed Jabulani Hospital in Soweto, for example, is set to cost around R536-million, Butaro – at half the size – cost just R40-million.
We also lag behind Kyrgystan. Ugh. And Brazil (no shit), and China. Yeah, China’s found a way to insure its 1.3 billion. It’s an insured world out there, people. And we have the finest health care system in said world. [SouthAfricaSundayTimes]