Tuesday, September 15, 2009

U.S. as us

After sixty years of yakking about health care it pretty much comes down to how you feel about government in general. Is government an “it”, a “they” or an “us”? The healthiest worldview seems to lobby for us to view all of these agencies as an “us”; you know taking ownership, not being a victim and all those empowerment notions. Aren’t there problems we can handle better collectively than individually? For instance should the government be involved with supplying fresh water and sanitation services? We could say, “Hell no,that's socialism, let everyman be responsible and drill his own well and build his own out-house” giving “Drill baby drill” a second fifteen seconds of fame or we could work together as a group via government and provide for universal access to fresh water and dung disposal. Hmmmmmmm, such an ideological conundrum.

The government already works for our greater good in many areas such as public education from K through PhDs (although when thousands turn up on the Capitol lawn worried about death panels and the Prez’s Kenyan connection you have to wonder if the system is failing us somehow). We have a massive transportation system in place that links our sprawling land by air, rail (sort of) and roadway. We could have a system of toll roads and Delta could build its own freaking airports but better heads have prevailed and WE worked together for the greater good. We even enjoy insuring our own savings and we’re glad when we can purchase a home or send our kids to college with a little help from ourselves. Do you think any of our stellar health care professionals might have gone to a public university or were enabled by a Pell grant? Would our parents be better off without Social Security or Medicare? Last September when the world economic system was ready to implode WE infused ourselves with our own credit and averted another Great Depression. Would your 401K be in better shape today if WE had done nothing?

None of these things are free. We pay for them through taxes and fees. No one is advocating a free lunch for anyone except for those who are obviously incapable of providing for their own most basic needs. What the health care public option does is to create a framework were all Americans can pool their resources and buying power to enable US to buy into a health insurance program on a competitive basis. Does that sound like some kind of Satanic, Communistic, Socialistic, Nazi loving, gun grabbing, Bible burning, grandma snuffing conspiracy? I think not. It’s just US, trying to make life a little better for us all.