Greetings from Seattle



Monday, November 9, 2009

The Health Care Debate

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United states of America. -Preamble, US Constitution I have been struggling with some of the debate I hear on the issue of health care reform. I am especially concerned with the voice I hear coming from those who tend toward Libertarianism. I take the preamble as a reminder that in order to have personal liberty we must also have general welfare, the societal conditions under which each individual has the opportunity to shape his own life. The founders felt that there was a need for a strong national government in order to promote the common good. We have a health care system based on the capitalistic system, not the socialistic system. That makes it more difficult to promote the common good over the making of a profit. So be it. But in order to secure the blessing of liberty for all, there must be government regulations to keep the profit motive in check. Our current health care reform move is more about insurance than medical treatment, coverage rather than care. Medical care is expensive, so we collectively attempt to reduce the risk of high cost by buying insurance. Some say "Why should I be forced to buy insurance? I lead a healthy life. Why should I have to pay higher taxes so that moochers, lazy fat people, illegal aliens can reap the benefits of those who are honest worker/tax payers?" I find an analogy in the fact that we pay taxes to fire districts for fire protection. Maybe you don't smoke or light candles and have smoke detectors. You don't think you should have to pay the tax. But your neighbor's house could still catch fire, and when the fire truck pulls up, they'll have to say "Sorry, you didn't pay for our protection. We can't put any water on your house." A nation is a society in which the condition of the few affects the many. A nation has an aspect of collectivity. The biggest block to health care reform is coming from people who are happy with their situation and are taking care of themselves. They don't want anything that can't guarantee that their premiums will go down. But satisfied as they are, they are still vulnerable, at the mercy of insurance companies. There is no guarantee that rates will go down. But left to their own devices, unregulated profit motivated, rates have steadily gone up. What we get from health reform is reliability, predictability, protection from being financially wiped out. And if we can also promote the common good by covering people less fortunate without raising our costs, why wouldn't we be happy to do it?

14 comments:

  1. A good essay, Linda. Most bloggers we're in contact with are thoughtful people. We preach to the choir. How do we influence those who only listen to Fox News?

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  2. I find many people jump across a large group of people to say they don't want to pay insurance for fat lazy people, illegal immigrants, etc.

    What about those folks working forty hours and more in a week for minimum wage that cannot afford the cost of insurance as it is now? What about single mothers who's exs can't provide insurance for the children? (That may be why they're exs) I worked in a university where groundskeepers and the housekeepers could not afford the university's offered plan unless they were married and had two incomes coming in. What about all the people who are working but just can't get ahead because of our wonderful capitalistic minded society?

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  3. Linda, thank you. For the sake of brevity, I opted to leave out so many points. Thank you for adding some of them.

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  4. Linda, You said it perfectly! I appreciate this post very much.

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  5. It seems to run down party lines, and obviously, as everything else does...money. Those who have it don't want to lose it. I had a very frustrating conversation with a friend who could only see it as the working people would be paying for the unemployed and welfare recipients' health care. It was so annoying. Young adults out of college have enough trouble finding a job..never mind one with health care. They often have more than 1 job, and no benefits. There are so many of them without any health coverage, and they don't go to the dr. If they ever had anything requiring hospitalization, they're done! It is a sad situation. I don't know that anything can be done to help it along. Any suggestions??

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  6. Wonderful post, Linda. I wish I could express my feelings about health care that well. If we don't start to think more collectively about all members of our society, this nation will meet its demise. Greed must be checked.

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  7. Beautifully stated, Linda. I wish every senator could read your post. The majority of people in our country want health care reform. I just hope hope hope we get something.

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  8. I wonder if the abortion issue will derail the Senate bill. Hope there's some compromise.

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  9. Hi Linda--I too would like to see some useful reform.

    Regarding the Koi---They must go to the bottom of the pond in the summer and the winter too. So I say 'they're back' when I see them in Fall and Spring. This summer well actuall August and Sept the pond was lower than I had ever see but it always comes back. I would go to the pond in trepidation thinking I would see dead Koi---but nary a one. In the winter I occasionally see them and the popnd will only get a light glaze of ice unless it is well into single digits. MB

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  10. PS. In regards to the Heron and Raccoons--I think the Koi are too big for a Heron to eat (I read that somewhere) although I have seen them near the pond, but not very often. They eat frogs and other small creatures. As for Raccoons I did see tracks by the pond one summer when the pond was low but not for a long time. I have never seen one around in person up here. I am sure they are here though. MB

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  12. Very thoughtful words Linda, and I think, very reasonably put. We in NZ have a social welfare system and until I have a need for it myself it's easy for me to denounce it to try and prevent others from using it. But when I needed it, I really did need it and am thankful that we have such a system. - Dave.

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  13. Bravo Linda.. A great example of intelligent thinking and analogies that express to those who are so fearful of the word, 'socialism' the inherent good here in this humane caring society we call home.

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