As you can imagine, it's fundamentally a book about the inequality, inefficiency and general disastrousness of the US health care "system". More importantly, it's a rather complete study of all the different universal health care plans that exist in other countries today.
As usual, I will not go in to depth about the book itself. To find out more about the book, you can go here. But while I was reading the introductory chapters extolling the idiocy of the US system and how much, well "better, cheaper, and fairer" health care could be, I must admit I was hit with a bit of despair. I know we've all had that moment where we go "Idiots! How can people NOT get this?" Well, those wounds felt fresh again as drastic health care reform once again seems likely to languish in the halls of Congress, slowly becoming less drastic and less likely to actually reform anything. Looking at the problem analytically (as this book does), it just seems SOOOO EASY. But looking at this politically, it seems near impossible.
I like to think of myself as a realistic optimist. I hope for the best knowing that I will be disappointed over and over again. It can be a hard position to take. When our country repeatedly fails with regards to health care or green tech or education or.... fill in your favorite cause here, it can lead to the simple answer that our system sucks or America sucks, or people in general suck. It's only natural to lose faith in something that doesn't work.
But I like to believe in what COULD be rather than be blocked by what is most likely right now. A hundred years ago, it was most likely that you'd have to take a boat to get to Europe for the next hundred years. Then someone invented planes. It's likely that the US will continue to struggle with health care for a few years, but there's nothing physically impossible about creating a cheap, fair, efficient health care system in the US.
I accept that our government resists change. I accept that the media-driven voters can seem irrational and easily driven by fear. However, these are just aspects to the problem, not inherent blocks to progress.
But I have faith that things can get better. Why? if you run the numbers, I am likely to be wrong... over and over again. But that is the definition of faith. It has to be slightly irrational, or it wouldn't be faith anymore. It would be logic. But why have faith? Because irrational belief drives people to achieve things that logical people would never pursue. As a societal tool, faith is EXTREMELY powerful. As a political tool, it is just as powerful.
By logic, you shouldn't vote, especially if you live in a district that is highly polarized. You're chances of having an impact are pretty much zero. But if all the intelligent people thought this way and didn't vote, then the vote goes to the masses who believe that it is their duty to vote. The leaders of any movement, the real forerunners. They don't succeed. They fail miserably and would have been much better off staying at home. But someone's got to start. Someone has to believe, to be passionate enough to go beyond rationality and work harder than they should.
I must apologize that words fail to completely capture this thought, but I hope you get the gist of it all. I believe in rationality, however, without irrational passion and hope, rationality will lose to the status quo and fear. And if you give up, lose faith in the government, then you have conceded the fight. So while I sit in astonishment at the ridiculous nature of so much that surrounds us, I refuse to concede that the government or people are just bad. There is something worth saving here, and there is a solution somewhere.