[Note: This may be a work-in-progress and edits may occur.]
Over on Facebook there was a meme going around this morning. I got caught up in the spirit of it, and posted the following as my status:
No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.
My first thought was, if more people say something like this, perhaps our leaders will finally understand how deep the sentiment actually is and commit to making change happen with health care. There’s another viewpoint in this debate than Dittoheads shouting legislators down by parroting epithets at them. People really don’t want to fear that losing their job or getting sick at the wrong time will destroy them.
And then, I realized that I’d gotten caught up in one of those feel-good things that courses around the Internet faster than thought sometimes. You’d have a hard time finding anyone who thinks that poor people should die because they have no money for the hospital, or go bankrupt because of illness. What we’ve said here sounds good but, basically, was … not much. There are implications of what we mean, perhaps; more likely there are but inferences.
For instance, I know that the people who I know who posted those words are all likely to be from the liberal end of the spectrum. It’s likely they want some sort of control of costs by the government, either in the form of an insurance plan or, perhaps, price controls. (Whoa, that was almost Nixon-esque, there, typing “price controls.”) Most of the people who did not post that paragraph are either known to me to be against more government involvement in health care, or known to me to think before jumping—the latter earning my respect for their restraint.
It’s worth reminding people that there’s no hard-and-fast plan at the moment; negotiations and debates are still ongoing.* It would’ve been far braver, perhaps, for people to post a statement like “I believe a single-payer health plan for all citizens should be considered a basic right in the U.S.” or “I believe in government-sponsored incentives to promote health care” or even “The insurance companies should get federal money as an incentive to cover poor people”; whatever they actually believe, just be specific. I fear it has been just as easy for some of us to be vague about the issue—”Hope! Change!”—as it has been for others to shout “Commies! Socialism! Freedom freedom freedom!” Neither side says anything in this case. There are details and proposals to look at. We should be looking at them and talking about them.
*Unless anyone can give me an actual bill number I can look up in THOMAS…