Sunday, November 18, 2007

New Reason for the GOP to Support Universal Health Care: Tighter Immigration? Obese Woman Denied Entry to New Zealand

Well, this could get more in the GOP behind universal health care, not to say that some aren't behind it. But the type of universal health care bandied about by most U.S. politicians isn't the type that most industrialized countries have: true universal or single payer health care that costs little or nothing for the public, and that has helped most other nations achieve infant mortality rates far better than ours.

A British woman has been unable to join her husband in New Zealand because her B.M.I. (Body Mass Index) is too high. In short, she's overweight, and to a point, obese.

New Zealand has strict immigration laws around this sort of issue, because the country has universal health care and people such as Rowan Trezise, 33, and her husband Richie, 35, would be a burden to the health care system.

Richie has managed to lose enough weight to get in, but Rowan has not. If she doesn't lose it by Christmas, they're going to abandon the attempt to move.

Now, in terms of immigration, unless you've been asleep the last couple of years, you'll know that Bush has tried to push through immigration "reform," only to be stymied by his own party in Congress. Of course, my own personal feeling is the immigration "reform" Bush wants is really just another way to lower the wage cost to corporations, while helping out his friend Felipe Calderón in Mexico.

What I don't want to see is this New Zealand issue used as a serious excuse to stop universal health care in the United States. As we know, the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not have some form of universal health care. Even Mexico is working on it. Does it mean that everyone else is wrong and we are right? What do you think, particularly when you look at the statistics and compare our longevity with that of other countries?

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