Thursday morning, after the supreme court ruled the healthcare bill constitutional, my feed on Facebook was filled with right-winged individuals announcing that they wished to emigrate to Australia. What follows is my rebuttal:
So the Affordable Healthcare for America Act has been deemed constitutional, and you’ve decided to emigrate to Australia; well, here are a few things you might want to know. In regard to the executive branch, they actually do live in a form of despotism—the kind you fear the Obama administration will usher in—under Queen Elizabeth II. Only under her good graces does the Commonwealth of Australia exist. Australia is a constitutional monarchy, not a federalist republic like the United States. There has been talk under the regime of Prime Minister Gillard to make Australia a true republic, but, considering the United Kingdom’s history, I find it hard to believe that the Queen would permit this without a fight—one only has to look at the example of the Falklands.
Since you’ve decided to emigrate to Australia, you should learn about your new Prime Minister. The Prime Minister of Australia is Julia Eileen Gillard; a member of the Labour Party. For those who are unfamiliar with the Labour Party, it is the Social Democratic Party of Australia. Yes, that political philosophy that the conservative media has told you to fear. Prime Minister Gillard has been an active member of the socialist movement since her years in college.
When asked if the Prime Minister believed in God, she said, “No I don’t . . . I’m not a religious person . . . [I’m] a great respecter of religious beliefs but they’re not my beliefs.” Yes, she is that godless socialist you have been conditioned to fear. Approximately 19% of Australia’s population is atheist; whereas, in the U.S. only 4% make this claim. If you were to count unspecified with none, the number for both countries increases: 30% in Australia and 16.1% in the United States. I might add, Prime Minister Gillard is also pro-choice.
The Prime Minister has supported the recently passed Carbon Tax—a divisive issue in the country currently. This tax will see 300 of the worst polluting firms in Australia pay a tax of $24 (USD) per ton of greenhouse gas emitted. This tax is to help Australia reach its goal of reducing emissions by 2020.
The one issue you and the Prime Minister might share the same stance is same-sex marriage. She believes that marriage is between a man and a woman only, but both of you are on the losing side of this argument. In the end, liberty, justice, and equality win the day. Bigotry always recedes into the dark fringes of our society.
So you despise the Affordable Healthcare for America Act, so do I, as anyone should. It is nothing more than a plutocratic bill—a Republican bill if you prefer, I do. It is, after all, modeled after the bill approved by Mitt Romney while he was governor of Massachusetts, but if you think Australia is your private healthcare wet dream, think again. Australia has universal healthcare—as all other industrial nations do except the United States. In Australia they have something called Medicare, which is the healthcare plan for all people who do not purchase private health insurance. This program is funded by a 1.5% tax on all people, except for the abject poor. Those who are well-off, and can afford private health insurance, but choose not to, pay an extra 1% in taxes. This is to prevent a burden on the public healthcare system. Even though Australia has a universal healthcare system it spends less, in percentage of GDP, than the United States: Australia 8.5% to U.S. 16.2%. What are the benefits of such a healthcare system? Australia experiences a far lower mortality rate than the United States: death rate is 6.94/1,000 in Australia to 8.39/1,000 in U.S.; maternal mortality is 8/100,000 in Australia to 24/100,000 in U.S.; infant mortality rate is 4.55/1,000 in Australia to 5.98/1,000 in U.S.; average life expectancy is 81.9 years in Australia to 78.49 in the United States—to put this into perspective, the U.S. ranks 50th in life expectancy, just beating Taiwan; Australia comes in 9th. Australia has a lower rate of obesity and HIV/AIDS as well. I could go on, but I think the point is made. (All statistics come from the CIA World Factbook: U.S. and Australia)
If by chance you thought, while the Prime Minister is a godless socialist and Australia has universal healthcare, at least I can escape the immigration problem, you couldn’t be more wrong. Australia has struggled over the last few years to find a solution to its migrant problem. Many each year risk their lives crossing the Indian Ocean on rickety ships to seek asylum in Australia. Many come from war-torn areas in the Middle-East, such as Afghanistan, or are looking to escape oppressive governments, such as Sri Lanka. They sail from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, or Indonesia and seek refuge on Australian shores. The difference between Australia and the United States is they do not have a statue with that famous Emma Lazarus quote emblazoned upon it:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
So at least when they deny the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”; they can’t be called hypocritical. They could, though, be breaking international law.
If after reading you are unpacking your bags, that was not my intent; I’d gladly see you leave. If this is all news to you, I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not. Your ignorance is constantly on display. Maybe next time, before making such a vacuous remark, you will do your research first, but I think that is expecting too much. It appears you have no anglophone countries left to go. Your only hope is to win the 2012 presidential and senate elections, and return the country to the status quo. You are still on the losing side of this battle. Universal Healthcare will come to the United States; it’s only a matter of time. It is unethical to deny people the right to healthcare. The Right have always been on the losing side of ethical issues. You have fought to deny rights to women, as well as men of other races; you were against public education; you were against making the fire department a public service; you were against the eight-hour workday, maternity leave, paid vacation, pensions, disability insurance, paying for overtime, and minimum wage. In the end, liberty, justice, and equality prevailed. Win in November, and repeal this Republican healthcare bill. Please do us this favor. But you will have not won; the struggle will continue. Someday, there will be a President who actually is the socialist that you fear, and will pass a law creating universal healthcare. On that day you will find yourself living in a nation much like Australia.