I have been thinking about how I might best convey my attitudes toward affordable health care. What type of analogy offers the best way to explain through comparison why I believe all Americans deserve to be offered a way to have health insurance and why all must contribute? There are certainly other services that are provided to all and all are asked to support. It might be argued in a Maslow kind of way that health care – life and death – is a more basic need than at least some of these other services.
The most obvious comparison that comes to mind is K-12 education. All are provided access to a K-12 education no matter the resources of their care givers or the cost to meet basic individual needs. Not all of those who must contribute have children in need of this service. Some never had children and many have no present need. We somehow have decided the collective benefit is worth the imposed requirement. We do not shy away from providing the most expensive services to those who we know will never be able to pay back the resources that have been invested in them. We make these commitments because these are values we support and because we understand that life is not always fair. This is not about business. This is not able allowing the market to find a way. This is about all of us accepting a responsibility to allow each individual to receive a basic “level of coverage”.
Why should health care be different? Why don’t we start from what Trump proposed, but what we now recognize as hollow promises? Why are we willing to ignore the health needs of some because their personal needs are more expensive? Why are we willing to put individuals at risk because their life circumstances have prevented them from acquiring a level of income so many of us take for granted and somehow attribute entirely to our own effort? I cannot answer these questions because I assume I have
I cannot answer these questions because I assume I must accept certain responsibilities and the government has to be the mechanism through which such responsibilities must be executed. Think of health care as a type of tax if you must. Taxes are simply the way we cover the cost of things we value for the common good. The math is not that hard and the solutions are there. If every business and each individual cannot be counted on to contribute to the common good by purchasing insurance, then the government needs to take on this responsibility through taxation.