In a different part of my week, I received an email from my friend in the US who writes birdsonawire blog. She has been chosen to speak directly as the voice of bloggers on the subject of healthcare reforms in the US. I commented on her blog post and it made me realise how lucky people in the UK are to have a National Health Service. It's not perfect and it's not free as we subsidise it with our contributions from earnings. But we know that if we turn up at Accident and Emergency, we are going to be seen and treated. Imagine breaking your arm and turning up at Accident and Emergency just to be told that because you have no insurance no one will treat you. Now imagine if it was your five year old son.
…I have a lot to be thankful for. I live in a country where I can get health treatment when I need it, see wonderful works of art for free, get educated for free and although I'm a struggling writer, I can still go out and sit in my back yard with cold lemonade! Nothing 'secret' about all that really, it just takes a dash of synchronicity, a dab of awareness and a drizzle of realisation to diffuse the taken-for-grantedness and the illusion that we are poor.
Of course there are some ways the country can be improved, mainly around the wide availability of harmfully addictive substances and the resulting impact on healthcare and other social consequences, such as trapping people who are already disadvantaged in a world of addiction and substance abuse which eats up their limited income. Would it make a difference if people would, for just a moment, take their eye off their television screen where Matrix-like lives are lived vicariously plugged into soap operas and reality drama, put down their can of Stella and their twenty Richmond Superkings and look around them at what we get for free, and be grateful. Free is a start to freedom.