I used to wear a button that said, ‘Health care is a right not a privilege’. I never expected to see Congress wearing it too.
WASHINGTON – House Democratic leaders, pledging to meet the president’s goal of health care legislation before their August break, are offering a $1.5 trillion plan that for the first time would make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans. Left to pick up most of the tab were medical providers, employers and the wealthy.
This might sound like a radical redefinition of what ‘rights’ are in our society, but actually we’re conflicted and have been for generations.
If your teenager is out with his friends and they get in a car accident and the rescue comes–the EMT goes through your kid’s pockets and finding no proof of insurance leaves him on the sidewalk… No, we’re not that kind of society. We help one another in emergencies. In fact, our former President had a brilliant idea for solving the health care crisis–send them all to the emergency room.
The rich, the poor, and all of us in between pay for this in some way. We are all paying for the time that nurses like me spend serving the needs of insurance companies, and we pay for the extra office hours that doctors need to fill out all the forms. We pay for disability for people who would not have been disabled if they had gotten care when they needed it. We pay for special education for children whose mothers had no access to prenatal care.
We’re paying for water damage because we didn’t plug the hole in the roof, and the floor guy is willing to give us a break on repairs by the square foot as long as we leave the roof alone.
Public Health. Primary. Preventive. Health Education. Responsible Behavior.
A ‘right and a responsibility’. We all have to contribute.
We are already paying for duct tape when we need a comprehensive repair. It will cost more up front but it’s necessary. The coming generation has enough to deal with, and we can’t afford to chuck millions of Americans overboard when jobs are insecure and health security and job mobility is the way out of this recession.