Things I heard on the radio and read online yesterday about health care reform included how Taiwan and Australia got through health care reform and made health care available to everyone at a low cost.
In Taiwan, apparently, doctors don't get paid nearly as much as they do here. There, they are ordinary middle class citizens (like many would otherwise want to be here) who just want to make a decent living for them and their family and help their patients out. They don't require driving a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or owning a villa in the countryside as a summer home. At the same time, medical school there has only a nominal fee, compared to the exorbitant (>$50000) yearly prices here. They modeled their system after Canada's and the liberal party pushed it as a moral obligation as Taiwan has become a rich country and thus must bring up its poor people too. The conservative party initially resisted it (though not as strongly as Republicans do here) but saw resistance as futile due to increasing push from the liberal party; in fact, the plan got so popular that the conservative party later on tried to take credit for the plan by fully supporting it. Essentially the same thing happened in Australia. Both countries have national health care plans to provide for all citizens decent care.
I wish it could happen that way in the US as well, but it probably won't. The Republican Party is too vocal and too united for it to happen; it appalls me how powerful the party is and how it can make us look like such a backwards country at times. Furthermore, all of the planted protesters at town hall meetings are supposed to gain some sort of publicity for the GOP and thus make it look like that level of dissent is present in the entire country.
It saddens me that Obama is willing to do not the right thing by forcing the issue of a public option but the expedient thing by brushing off the idea to placate his political opponents. Hopefully once some groundwork is lain for a national health care system a public option can again come to the forefront of the debate.