Universal Healthcare: Why Does it Matter?
At first glance, the sound of universal health care coverage is a seemingly great idea. What kind of sadistic person has their fingers crossed for suffering people to continue to suffer?
I trip children for fun in my free time and even I, in my kinder moments, have been known to grimace at the thought of a hospital declining to help repair their shattered tibias.
So what’s the deal with all these selfish jerks with their hands clasped around their wads of cash? Why are they so unwilling to sacrifice a little to help others? Well, maybe some of them are just jerks. But a good amount of them aren’t, and more realistically, that group of people may see the big picture.
The picture where that small sacrifice isn’t so small after all.
What’s the core of the issue? Is this about money again? Because it’s not about donkeys versus elephants (which would be a hilarious satirical fight that I hope someone someday is fortunate enough to capture on tape in the wild). It’s about rights. The same rights that others fight so desperately for, for issues like women’s rights or gay marriage, are being thrown away as an afterthought – if even a thought at all. And I guess people have the right to sit back and watch their rights get taken away. But you at least owe it to yourself to see what you’re losing.
I don’t think I’m stating anything debateably controversial by saying that living in a free country means having the freedom to live your life the way you want. And that includes supporting whatever causes you want, and spending the money you make however you want to spend it. To forcefully require the working population of the country to “share the load” and cover for the guy who can’t afford the services he gets is blatantly wrong. I know I said it’s not about the money (and it’s not, stay with me), but life costs money. That’s the way it is. You need to pay for food, heat, water, and when you dislocate your little sister’s shoulder (sorry Arielle) the doctor has to get paid so that he can pay for the food, heat and water of his own family.
It chills me when people say that health care reform is “a sign of a civil country” or that we have “the responsibility” to help those in need. Annnnd for my next trick… a revelation! Revelation: Life is full of hardships. If you had the responsibility to solve every problem every person ever faced out of your own pocket you’d be bankrupt. Believe me. You would. And you know as well as I that helping others is a fantastic and noble thing to do, and no one should ever tell you that you can’t be generous or give to who you want for whatever reason you want. But it’s wrong to be told you have to.
Personally I envision the whole thing as a Norman Rockwell painting of a homeless guy sitting at a bar with a drink in his hand. He’s pointing his thumb over at the guy sitting next to him and whispering something to the bartender who’s leaning in close to hear what he has to say. Under the painting, the small plaque on the center of the frame reads: “Put it on his tab.” Imagine the nerve of that guy? And imagine the nerve of the cop standing next to him who will throw you in jail unless you throw down an extra ten bucks for the bum. But the analogy is pointless. Everyone knows that it’s wrong to force someone to do something they don’t want to do, right? … Right?
“OK, so come on, Will. How could this seriously affect me in any way? I appreciate your preachy opinion, but I don’t make a lot of money. I need health care. Why would I make a big fuss about a really small amount of tax to come out of my checks to help those who are in the same boat as me? And you should apologize to Arielle.” (It was years ago, she’s gotta be over it by now.) But if that’s what you believe and that’s the position you really think you’re in then that’s fine. But I genuinely hope the day never comes where you are put in the position to sacrifice a greater cause or something you really care about because someone told you you had to.
If you wouldn’t let someone rob you in real life, don’t enable “the man” to rob you either. Now if I could only find my Rage Against the Machine CD…