I’ve refrained from commenting on the health care debate the last few days, but I thought I’d offer some thoughts to my friends on the left and right.
To my friends on the right, I know you are upset over (among other things) the current mandate to purchase health insurance coverage. You say that it’s your choice to purchase coverage and that you are willing to take the risk. I am sure that on some level that you are sincere in this but the simple fact is that it is not true.
If you have no coverage and you or a family member requires major health care we all know that society is not going to leave you in the streets to die. We are not going to look at an accident victim and say ‘tough luck’ (and this is an entirely proper attitude in a civilized society). Hospitals are required to give treatment and if you can’t pay for it they simply pass the cost on in the form of taxes (for county hospitals) or increased costs and insurance rates.
I’m also sure you are sincere in saying you would pay for such treatment but the fact is that sometimes the costs will be too much and you will be forced into bankruptcy, again passing the cost on.
Since we can’t simply adopt the ‘let them die’ attitude, it is entirely proper to make everyone have some form of health insurance. Not because I want to force you to do it, not because I want a nanny state, but because I don’t want to pay your bills for you.
To my friends on the left, I understand your concerns over repeal of the ACA and the fact that the current proposed replacements have serious flaws. But that does not mean you simply ignore the fact that the current system also has very serious problems.
In addition much of the debate seems to focus not on the ACA or the proposed replacement but in condemnations of the “greedy rich” and how they should pay “their fair share”. I happen to agree with the second part, that those who are better off should pay more but there is a problem for me with some of the debate from the left.
In listening to some of the comments in Congress, or on the various blogs, or even here on TMV, I am reminded of a scene in the West Wing. A conservative and liberal are debating the issue of gun control and the conservative points out to the liberal that his support for gun control is not based just on the traditional reasons (IE safety, reduced crime, etc).
Part of the reason they support gun control is because they just don’t like the people who like guns. They don’t like them and they want to do things to hurt them. I couldn’t help but think of that when I heard or read some of the comments that made it pretty clear that a segment of society is simply hostile to anyone who is more successful than they are. You just don’t like the people and you should think about that.
Again, I entirely understand that most on the left are quite sincere in their views and do not ‘hate the rich’ but there is a segment who does feel that way and I think it is worth pondering why.
But most importantly of all, the debates are not getting us any closer to a viable solution to the problem, and oddly enough passing legislation that actually does something is part of your jobs (this is directed at both sides).
Just some thoughts for your consideration.
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