Proponents of unregulated capitalism, or if you will, the ‘free market,’ maintain that it provides a better life for all than do other systems. This allegation is demonstrably untrue if the question is public health across the board. In Iran, under the hyper-capitalist Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, infant mortality was 122 per 1,000 in 1970. Today, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is 28.6 per 1,000, an incredible decrease. Some 94% of the population has access to health services, and around the same percentage have access to affordable medicine. The state is authoritarian and controlling, but it cares about the welfare of even the poor among its citizens in a way that the US-backed, capitalist Pahlevis clearly did not. In the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency, at a time when he had drastically limited Federal support for stem cell research, Iran committed $2.8 billion to such high-powered medical research.
It is to the point where Mississippi, which has among the worst health statistics in the US, and where 20% of the population lacks health insurance, is looking to Iran for a model of how techniques pioneered in a third-world society could improve health care for Americans living in third-world conditions.
So maybe the urgency of Americans resorting to Iranian help will decline today if the US Congress does the right thing and enacts health care reform. It won’t be perfect, but it will extend coverage to some 30 million who now have none, and will stop outrageous abuses like the dropping of sick patients and exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
End/ (Not Continued)