I had a lot of arguments with the anti-reform people while I was holding a sign outside three of the Town Hall meetings last month. I sought common ground in the proposal that no one should suffer or die from lack of health care. The response was that people make ‘bad choices’ and stuff happens.
I had pointed out that young people out of school and not yet in a good paying job are especially likely to lack health insurance. Americans are dying unnecessarily. Working people are risking their health and lives because they can’t afford insurance and they can’t afford medical bills. How do you make ‘good choices’ when there are none? Kimberly Young gambled on her youth and health and lost, dying of the flu…
Her roommate’s mother said Young worked several jobs, none of which offered insurance. She eventually went to a public hospital’s emergency room after showing signs of kidney failure and dehydration. In critical condition, she was soon after transferred to another facility, where she died.
The people I argued with, who enjoyed their government benefits but rallied to prevent others from getting the same were showing us one path we might follow. Limited vision, harsh judgment on anyone who falls out of the system, and a deep fear that they might end up excluded too. In a new millennium we can look back on Charles Dickens’ world and see our own reflection.