SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) -- In the last three columns, I discussed the possibility of the United States being forced to join a North American Union with Canada and Mexico. I examined the history of the concept, the impact of a union Amero replacing the dollar and the loss of our gun rights to achieve a multi-national ?harmony of laws.?

This week I touch on health care and wrap up with a little philosophy. In order to promote this Union fantasy economy, the proposal is to adopt a ?tested once? principle ? by which a product tested in one country would meet the standards set by another. Is that a little scary or what?

Not that I don?t have all the confidence in the world in Mexican quality control and ethics, but I don?t think I could rely on a pharmaceutical developed in a nation where you can?t drink the water. Lest I begin to sound prejudiced, let me say that I believe the American drug manufacturers will stampede to move their research and development to Mexico to side step the stringent U.S. controls if the union is implemented.

Health care cost is a huge can of worms. First, there is a huge disparity in the spending for health care in the three countries. In 2004, per-capita spending for health care in the United States was more than double that in Canada and 25 times that of Mexico. As a side note, evidently money is not everything because Canadians life expectancy averages 80 years, with Americans at 78 and Mexicans at 75 years.

Canadians do have universal cradle-to-grave health coverage, an idea that is fought tooth-and-nail in America by everyone from the politicians to doctors and drug companies. The main weapon in their arsenal against a Canadian-style system is their horror stories about the system?s shortcomings.

Wait-time is a major issue, according to the critics. If you look at the statistics, the wait-time in Canada is not much different than in the United States. It takes me about a month to get in to see a specialist and that?s one of the Canadian complaints. Canadians wait about four hours at the emergency room. If you read internet stories you can bleed to death in an emergency room in the good ol? USA just as easily.

As far as Mexico is concerned, let?s just say that there are reasons people risk their lives to get across the border and health care is one of those reasons. The ?health care debate? in the American political arena is actually a barometer of the core problem Americans face. We see endless talk and no action as the profiteering continues. I believe there is a real possibility that the fear generated by the marketers of health care will eventually position them to bankrupt our economy.  

How will the American drug companies keep up their outrageous profits in this NAU system? I can?t help but think it will be by cost-cutting, which will equal inferior products. In addition to the immediate human cost, it will also negatively impact the U.S. standing in the world market with severe economic consequences. In addition, how will the Union ever achieve harmony in health care between three nations that have such impossibly different systems?

To wrap this up, we have to look at the bottom line. Is any of this Union stuff really possible? According to Robert Pastor, ?a leading intellectual force? in the move to create the North American Union, ?a new 9/11 crisis could be the catalyst to merge the U.S., Mexico and Canada.?

For all you conspiracy theorists, you need to learn that correlation does not determine causality. When someone says that all they need is a crisis to implement a change, that doesn?t mean they are conspiring to cause the crisis. It simply means that they are smart enough to know that crises always come along. Then, they just have to be conniving enough to spin the crisis to implement their agenda. The Patriot Act is a perfect example.

We will have another crisis; there are just too many crazies running around for any other scenario. When it hits, we?ll find out who is best poised to further their agenda. The North American Union has the kind of powerful backing to make it a very real possibility.

Rick Coddington is a third-generation native New Mexican. He attended UNM and studied political science. He has lived in Socorro since 1974. His opinions do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.