As it happens, in 34 years of driving, I have never had a car accident. This is in part due to dumb luck over Divine beneficence, but no matter, my insurance company charges me less because I haven’t cost them much. Like you in the United States, I am mandated to have proper insurance, but I am also able to choose from a plethora of providers competing to offer me affordable options to secure my hard-earned finance.
Being a minister in a 4-congregation Australian parish, and having once lived for five years in a single-payer health care system, I was able to observe, at very close range, hundreds of folks from every age and walk of life, undergoing all manner of successful procedures, from brain surgery to bypass. In part, because of living overseas, but also because of what I think the United States should represent at home, I believe every American citizen should have access to quality essential health care.
In other words, like education, I believe adequate and basic health care is a right, not a privilege.
Consider, while we might easily leave primary school participation for children entirely up to their parent’s initiative and ability to pay, this approach would definitively compromise individual God-given potential and it would seriously undermine the common good for all. While upper echelon private schools are available, solid public education for everyone is a social necessity and a moral obligation. I view health care in much the same way. If we understand and accept the wisdom in enhancing the national brain power, how can we not apply this approach to our bodies as well?
As we move one way or another to address this issue, and costs have risen far in advance of actual inflation, we have the opportunity to assess what works best in other countries in the attempt to meld foreign approaches with innovations uniquely our own.
Certainly we all want to avoid creating a massively intractable and frighteningly inefficient bureaucracy. Therefore, taking advantage of the powerful engine of free enterprise, private corporate competition across state lines, guided by federal law, should be a key component active at all levels. In addition, there ought to be some economic onus or pressure on each of us to take personal ownership of the system, being reasonably responsible for care of ourselves and thus destroying the expectation that the government should have to compensate for any and all habitually careless or reckless behavior.
Above all, I believe children should be afforded automatic access to what many of us take for granted, without having to be treated at an Emergency Room for whooping cough or bronchitis.
Across the political spectrum many perspectives have been put forth in the media, and without getting into which may be more or less valid, let’s be mindful that no ideas will be perfect and no approach will come without real expense. In addition, apart from tangible dollars and cents, let’s not forget that the fear of losing insurance creates a background radiation of real and deep anxiety that also has a definite cost.
In a number of ways, my leanings tend to be proudly conservative. Still, I believe every American has the right to benefit from a sturdy national defense, a strong national education, and a sympathetic national care for their health. We can bring the finest brains in the world to bear on this issue, but we can only do this properly if our hearts and souls find themselves in the right place as well.