Hatred for health care reform too dramatic
March 29, 2010 —
I have paid taxes since the age of 12, when I started my own lawn-care business and made more than $2,500 per year. Since then, I have held held eight different jobs for which I paid taxes. I have insurance through BlueCross BlueShield. I am protected by the police and military and if my house catches on fire, the fire department will come put it out. I intend to go to law school and then pay a lot more taxes. I vote.
I, as an American with all the qualities listed above, am disappointed in the vehemently negative reaction to the passing of the health care reform. I’m disappointed not because I think everybody should love the reform or even because I love the reform. I’m disappointed not because some people are worried it will cause the quality of healthcare to decrease. Those worries are noble. I’m disappointed because of the complaints I hear that are motivated by greed, by lack of compassion.
If there is one good thing about the reform it’s this — it is reform. Health care in the United States is dismal for a country with so much wealth. Perhaps this reform is not the best solution for fixing the sad state of health care, but it is a step in the right direction, because when you have been stuck in a hole for a half-century, any step out of it is in the right direction. Maybe more changes are needed to get health care on the right track, and making those changes is much more possible now that the issue has been blown out of the doldrums.
Anybody who said that health care didn’t need to be reformed is either blissfully unaware, completely selfcentered, or both. Simply because one person has health care doesn’t erase the fact that millions of American don’t, and simply because one person doesn’t care about them doesn’t mean the government shouldn’t either.
Those who are upset because the bill mandates that some people are taxed to provide services to others are mistaken about dominant American values and the benefits of sound health care. Americans pay for many services that do not benefit them directly, but certainly benefit them nonetheless. Maybe somebody thinks guns are wrong always and fires are religious symbols that should never be put out by man. If that person is American, she still has to pay for the police and the fire department because public safety from crime and from fire is good for society.
Is my freedom limited because of this? Yes, it is. But America as a whole knows that if security were a privatized industry, it would, like everything else distributed by capitalism, be polarized, and it would be unaffordable to some. Even though most Americans never experience a house fire or need to call the police, we are glad these institutions exist for the better of the country. So, people are taxed so that these services are available to all.
Healthcare is fundamentally the same. It affects society and the innocent. Why is it so impossible to think of it as a public service like many of the others our government administers? Right now, because the incredibly wealthy—who don’t care about the wellbeing of the American people as a whole — have launched a campaign against it, and many Americans are distracted by their rhetoric. The people who pay to produce that rhetoric aren’t patriotic. They make decisions that make them richer with no regard to how it will affect Americans. Still Americans carry their message: “We shouldn’t have to pay for the poor!” “This is an attack on my freedom!” “This is communism!”
It is a fundamental concept of democracy and freedom that freedom must be limited to be ensured at all. If we are free to take away each other’s freedom, none of us are free. One doesn’t need a gun to deprive someone of a life or liberty, not if he is a billionaire insurance executive deciding whether to pay for a child’s operation. Americans are not being asked to sacrifice a heinous amount of freedom — no more than we have been forced to sacrifice since the country’s birth in order to pay for education, police and firefighters. What will certainly cause an inconvenience to many Americans will mean life and liberty for at least as many. If you believe only in survival of the fittest and are enraged at the inconvenience this reform causes you despite the tremendous freedom it provides for fellow Americans, U.S. democracy is not for you.
There are those who believe the free market should regulate every institution (including the Legislature). There is a place where they can have the government they say they want — Somalia. In the United States, we believe in paying for a healthy, safe society and a government that protects those who can’t afford to buy protection.