Dear President Obama:
Amy Goodman reported this morning on Democracy Now that opponents to health care reform at town hall meetings have been saying “Who cares about those who don’t have health care?”
The self-reliance that motivated many people in various parts of the world to immigrate to America, the self-reliance that was necessary on the frontier – and the control the Federal Government had over who got what land on the frontier – have come together a couple of hundred years later to distort the very meaning of government.
The motto “that government is best which governs the least” has to be taken IN CONTEXT. It is not a repudiation of government as such, but a word of caution least government slide from providing services that individuals cannot organize – such as roads and armies – to ensuring that the freedom of one individual does not encroach on the freedom of another.
In the early days of the republic, the need for solidarity among individuals was obvious. As individuals became less able to provide solidarity for one another, that role was shifted to government. You are not called in the middle of the night to deliver your neighbor’s baby because there is a hospital equipped to do that. But when your neighbor knocks on your door because she ran out of milk, you say “too bad for you, lady”.
Health care has evolved from something the friendly neighborhood doctor could pretty much take care of, to a complicated science involving high technology (while hopefully retaining its early quality as an art). So instead of your neighbor counting on you to be there for her when she goes into labor, she should be able to count on you to pay your share of the expense of building, equipping and running the hospital she will deliver at.
If government weren’t there, you’d be driving your high-end BMW on dirt roads.
I am one hundred percent in favor of universal, single payer health care, because I have lived in several countries that have that system and I have experienced it first hand. It is a great relief not to have to worry about paying the doctor, or affording medication.