5 things the U.S. could learn from Nambia’s increasingly self-sufficient health care system

Nambia doesn’t get a whole lot of positive press in the mainstream media these days.

Sure, there’s the occasional human-interest article…the ghostly photos of the desert encroaching on Nambia’s suburbs…

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…or the zebra who lost her stripes.

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But there hasn’t really been any serious reporting on Nambia since The New York Times closed its bureau there in the early 1990s.

That all changed this week, thanks to amateur African history scholar and global health care expert Donald Trump.

At a UN gathering of African leaders, Trump rightly heaped praise on Nambia’s universal health care system, which he hailed for being “increasingly self-sufficient.”

Trump’s admiration for Nambia is understandable. The country is a regional leader in democracy and health care, two issues close to Trump’s heart. So it should come as no surprise that Nambia is becoming a model of excellence for the United States, which is struggling on both fronts.

As our country’s Republican-controlled Senate prepares to vote on yet another initiative to destroy Obamacare with a little-known bill known as the Graham-Cassidy repeal plan, here are a few lessons we could learn from Nambia’s increasingly self-sufficient health system:

1. Slashing federal funding for health care is a terrible way to improve funding for health care

Nambia’s public health care system didn’t become increasingly self-sufficient by slashing federal funding. Just the opposite! By improving federal funding and making quality, preventive health care affordable to more people, Nambia was able to reduce costs associated with providing expensive emergency-room medical attention to the uninsured. The Republicans’ Graham-Cassidy plan, meanwhile, would slash federal health care funding by an estimated $300 billion in 2027 alone, according to analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

2. Health care reform should be analyzed, understood, and debated.

Nambia’s increasingly self-sufficient health care system was the product of 28 months of careful deliberation by Nambia’s national assembly. Health care experts were consulted, and their recommendations were incorporated. The lawmakers were well versed on the ins and outs of the bill, and listened to concerns from constituents who would be affected by the health care reform. Graham-Cassidy, meanwhile, is a slapdash effort that’s being rushed through the Senate before Sept. 30 with the urgency of two stiff-legged men hobbling towards the bathroom with diarrhea, which, incidentally, would be a pre-existing condition under the new plan. Said one Nambian lawmaker when pressed for comment on the Graham-Cassidy bill, “That’s some Third-World bullshit right there.”

3. No premium hikes for pre-existing conditions

Nambia built its health system on the idea that access to health care shouldn’t just be available to healthy people who don’t need it. Graham-Cassidy, on the other hand, is apparently based on the premise that if you regularly need to see a doctor, you shouldn’t be able to afford one.

4. Vets deserve health care, too

Nambia believes that the brave men and women who fought for their flag deserve access to affordable and quality health care. Graham-Cassidy, meanwhile, threatens to reverse progress made insuring U.S. vets by expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, according to a study by Rand.

5. Medical tourism is good business

While international tourism to the United States has been on the decline since Trump came to power, Nambia’s tourism sector is doing quite well, driven by medical tourists who have reached their lifetime insurance cap in less-developed nations. Nambia’s medical board is expecting the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would cap and cut federal Medicaid funding for seniors, people with disabilities, families, and children will be a major boon for their country’s tourism industry.

But Nambia is also expecting that the potential for medical tourism profits in their country will attract a gaggle of Trump’s carpetbagging friends who go to Africa “to try to get rich.” So the country is preventively pushing a so-called “empowerment bill,” which will prevent Trump’s shameless white friends from profiting off their emerging economy.

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