03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On Health Care, Why Can't We Do Better than Uganda??

On the day he was born, doctors told Alexander Prisant's father that his son wouldn't survive 24 hours. Thankfully, they were wrong. Mr. Prisant, now in his 50s, has led a rather remarkable life. In addition to working as a syndicated journalist and as a strategic advisor to British and other governments, he has, according to his brand-new blogsite, Wordsmith Wars, "fostered change in business and social/charitable movements on four continents, branded a division of the International Red Cross for the US, launched the Walkman internationally for SONY, brought high-tech to Nelson Mandela's South Africa and fostered new ideas in public health care policy to the Middle East."

Mr. Prisant, who makes his home in Florida and Barcelona, has something important to say about health care, and I'll let him speak for himself. Keep your eye out for his blog, because he's got a lot more to say.

By Alexander (Sandy) Prisant

Pericles, Eucleides and all the Athenians who founded democracy must be cringing. The last six months in Washington could not possibly be what they had in mind.

On the day I was born, the doctors told my father I could not live 24 hours. That was how my interest began in health insurance and its impact on our society. Today, more than 50 years later, I continue to lead a full, productive life. But during all of that time I have had to scrap and struggle for health coverage and have had to live half my adult life outside the US to get that sensible, single-payer national insurance coverage.

My story makes me a virtual poster child for that kind of well-established health care approach. Having paid in tens (hundreds?) of thousands to FICA and corporate health insurers during my decades as a senior executive, I am now "ineligible" for any coverage in the US. Nonetheless I decided to return home last year to try to play a role in promoting a 21st century policy. But even I did not expect this--Congress has been replaced by Cirque du Soleil.

In short, I'm playing Russian roulette with my own health and my family's financial stability for the sake of a country in which the lobbyists for virtually every nook and cranny of the for-profit industry have already gotten Congressional commitments to keep their "share of the pie". (NY Times, 11 October)

If I fall down in the street today, I pray no one takes me to a hospital--it would bankrupt my loved ones. That is the nightmare 47 million Americans now live with. If Americans believe there is a right to life, there must also be a right to health care sans bankruptcy. It is an intrinsic corollary.

After decades of personal frustration, I've now had to endure with all of you months of calculated propaganda--false to the last word. There has been less debate than what you can get by reading a box of Cocoa Puffs.

Can we all at least agree on one thing? That every American should, at a minimum, have the health care rights on paper afforded the citizens of Vanuatu and Uganda? Even if only to appease ancient Athenian spirits.