Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Actor Terrence Howard Touts Communist Cuba's Health Care System

Actor Terrence Howard Touts Communist Cuba's Health Care System
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
By Nicholas Ballasy

( – Actor Terrence Howard cited Communist Cuba's health care
system as a good example of providing care for all people in contrast
with health care in the United States, which he said was inadequate and
resulted in people dying unnecessarily because of the costs for certain
treatment and lack of access to doctors.

"Well, what's interesting is we're level with third world countries in
poverty but some of these third world countries still have individuals –
they have a health care system – you can go to Cuba and have anything
done even if you're not a Cuban citizen," Howard told in
reference to President Barack Obama's plan for government-run health care.

"You can have the medical, your medical needs met" in Cuba, said Howard,
who was attending the Children Uniting Nations Gala in Washington, D.C.
"The fact that we can't do that here – the fact that my mother, you
know, died from colon cancer because she couldn't afford the million
dollars necessary to have the operation and the chemo and the countless
others that are dying now because they can't get to a doctor because
they can't afford that – the preventative care that's necessary."

Cuba's health care system has been criticized for its high
doctor-to-patient ratio, as well as poor hospital conditions and lack of
adequate drugs for treatment, including basic items such as aspirin.
There essentially is a two-tier health care system in Cuba: one for
tourists and government elites and one for the common people.

As the National Post has reported: "After the Soviet Union stopped
sending Cuba US$5-billion in annual funding to prop up its economy, the
health care system, like most social services, fell on difficult times.
In common with other buildings on the Communist island, hospitals are
falling apart, surgeons lack basic supplies and must re-use latex
gloves. Patients must buy their own sutures on the black market and
provide bedsheets and food for extended hospital stays."

"Antibiotics, one of the most valuable commodities on the cash-strapped
Communist island, are in extremely short supply and available only on
the black market. Aspirin can be purchased only at government-run dollar
stores, which carry common medications at a huge markup in U.S.
dollars," reported The Post. "This puts them out of reach of most
Cubans, who are paid little and in pesos. Their average wage is 300
pesos per month, about $12."

Despite that, supporters of single-payer health care often point to Cuba
as an example of a good health care system because it is government run
– no private hospitals are allowed to exist in the country. Howard said
a government-run health care system is a "moral responsibility."

"So, if you have these initiatives to allow the federal government to
have a health care system that's going to be on par or even cheaper than
insurance companies, then maybe that's the steps we need towards moral
responsibility," said Howard, who added that "because there's a moral
responsibility to look after your children -- you don't let any of your
children go without the health care they need."

Howard also said he is "pretty sure" but not certain that he would buy
health insurance from a government-owned health care company.

"I'm pretty sure it's going to be something worth buying into because
everyone will be connected to it, so I'm pretty sure I will, you know,
depending on the options given," Howard told

"But the fact that they are going to give that opportunity to the rest
of the American citizens, even to the immigrants, even to the illegal
immigrants, you know, because they want to be here as bad as the rest of
the Americans that stole their way here," he said. "It's supposed to be
a free country – let everyone come in and help build it the way it's
supposed to be." - Actor Terrence Howard Touts Communist Cuba's Health Care
System (30 June 2009)

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