On the latest episode of PBS’s News Hour, I had the (dis)pleasure to hear a random conservative woman declare that she believed ObamaCare must be repealed because it violates the Constitution and because it will bankrupt the country. While this individual likely had much more to say in her argument, both ideas compelled me to write the following on Google+:
If your reason for disliking ObamaCare (to be fair: the imaginary version of ObamaCare that the Right invented so its arguments would work) is that it would cost a lot of money, then I would say you’ve got your priorities really screwed up. You’re so focused on how much it will cost that you’ve refused to stop to think about who it will help. And that means you really don’t give a shit if your imaginary version of ObamaCare will help a single mother with three children get the necessary healthcare to take care of herself and her chidlren. It means you don’t give a shit about someone who contracted a brain tumor, but was too poor to afford the care before ObamaCare (again, the imaginary version).
That a lot of these people call themselves Christian is a kind of twisted, almost nauseous irony. The Bible is pretty damn clear: Jesus Christ cared so little about the costs of helping people that he hung out with lepers and diseased people and the poor and helped them without question. He did it because it was right.
Maybe that’s what we should be thinking about. What is right: spending a lot of money to create a healthcare system for all, poor and rich alike, or going back to a system where most of us can’t afford insurance, and most who can can’t afford to use it, thereby condemning a lot of people to death?
Personally, I lean towards helping people, because that’s about building communities, building trust, and making for a happier public. We get enough warnings about all the ways we can die from our various media sources. Maybe it would be a nice relief to know if you or I get sick with something we have no control over, that the people around us won’t let us die because we didn’t want to be CEOs of multinational corporations. What makes the life of a CEO more valuable than the life of a teacher?
But what the hell do I know. I’m only a cancer survivor…
I’m not unsympathetic to the question of cost. Obviously, a universal healthcare system would require astronomical amounts of money in the United States, and it would take a decade or more to get it fully installed. But while I understand that cost is a factor, I also feel that we cannot let that be the basis for every governmental decision made. If we focus too heavily on cost, we lose sight of why we’re doing something in the first place. And sometimes you have to weigh the benefits against the consequences.
When we put the healthcare question in those terms, do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Why or why not?
The comments are yours.
Note: I just want to be clear that when I say “ObamaCare” here, I am only referring to what Republicans say ObamaCare does as opposed to what it actually does. Think back to the lies told about ObamaCare (death panels, socialism, etc.).