Israel, health care and gays in the militar

As Congress debates health care reform and frets about the special interests that want to make it a lot less than genuine reform, maybe it’s a good time for lawmakers to take a good look at how Israel delivers medical services.

Talking Points Memo’s Jo-Ann Mort does here.  While Mort is no fan of Israeli policies with respect to the Palestinians, she thinks its health care system has ours beat by a country mile.

Why aren’t the Jewish groups that are heavily involved in the intensifying health care debate holding Israel’s efficient system up as a model?

Could it be that they, like so many politicians here, are terrified  of going too far out on a limb in a debate in which every effort to use the government to impose some order on our current health care chaos is labeled “socialism” by opponents, and quickly turned politically radioactive?

While we’re at it, maybe folks in Washington should take a look at Israel’s military and its idea of diversity.  The Associated Press  did on Sunday with a story on how U.S. allies deal with  gays and lesbians in the service (read it here).

U.S. policy is simple; boot them out, regardless of their potential contributions to the nation’s security.

“12,000 service members – including dozens of highly trained Arabic linguists – have been dismissed since 1994 because it became known they were gay,” according to the report.

In contrast,  “Israel has had no restrictions on military service by gays since 1993 – a policy now considered thoroughly uncontroversial,”  the AP reports.   An Israeli army magazine earlier this year featured two male soldiers hugging – on the cover.

Must have something to do with worrying more about national survival than about some chimerical notion of “family values.”

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.