Friday, June 29, 2012

What June 29th Means To Me: Why We Can't Have Nice Things - Healthcare Edition

A friend just posted this to her Facebook wall:

Now, I'm not picking on her, she's more than entitled to her opinion (and a very smart girl, to boot).  But the above drives me absolutely crazy.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record (because I've written on the subject before), I'm, well, going to sound like a broken record. 

Here's some facts:

1) Healthcare, unlike gum, should not be a luxury (OK, this is more of a widely held opinion). 
2) Prior to yesterday, America was the only first class economy in the world without universal coverage.
3) Our healthcare system was (probably still is) broken.

But regardless of cost controls, economics, health providing, and all that ... what makes me sad is the complete lack of awareness we seem to have.  I'm just sick and tired of people bitching and moaning about pitching into something that is greater than them.  I don't care how rich you are, how famous you are, no one on this Earth is a demigod, and we owe it to each other to provide a strong base so that everyone can have a shot at a comfortable life.  Doctor bills can be debilitating, so much so that people avoid going to the hospital because they can't afford it.  It doesn't have to be this way, and it shouldn't.  And if that means some extra taxes so that we can have a more functional system that everyone can enjoy, then that's what we should do.  And, if you ask me, it shouldn't stop at healthcare.

Other countries in the world do it, and then some.  We consistently boast about being "the greatest country in the world."  How can we be that if we treat our own people with such disrespect?  How can we be that with our level of ignorance?  Maybe we wouldn't be such a divided country if we weren't such assholes to each other.  Paul Krugman jokes that the only thing to unite us these days would be an alien invasion.  Sadly, he's right. 

I understand that the healthcare bill is a long, complicated bill.  But I also know that people are mostly against it for political reasons.  When the bill, as a whole, is polled, it does poorly.  But when the features of the bill are polled, it does very well. That's because there's lots of good in the bill. Social Security and Medicare were unpopular at the time of their signing too, yet now they are crowning acheivements. 

As mentioned, the healthcare law is not perfect, but well, when SS was first released, black people weren't even entitled to it.  Hopefully we can improve upon it and get our health system to where it should be.  But regardless, don't compare it to gum, or broccoli, or anything else that could be considered a luxury. 

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