It came as an incredible shock to me to realize that socialized medical care could even be debated in our Congress, that we could have elected a President who could offer it as a viable option for health care reform. It caused me not only to look more into the health care situation, but also into what it means to be American.
Our country was founded with the hope that future generations would not only understand, but perpetuate their form of government, the Republic of the United States of America. But we have squandered it. I came of age as an American only to find that my country has been all but hollowed out, ironically, usually from either good intentions or from fear.
For example, take the good intention of equality in health care, the proposed result of a universal health care system.
"In the Wall Street Journal British physician Anthony Daniels writes:
"The government-run health-care system—which in the U.K. is believed to be the necessary institutional corollary to an inalienable right to health care—has pauperized the entire population.
"This is not to say that in every last case the treatment is bad: A pauper may be well or badly treated, according to the inclination, temperament and abilities of those providing the treatment. But a pauper must accept what he is given.
"Universality is closely allied as an ideal, ideologically, to that of equality. But equality is not desirable in itself. To provide everyone with the same bad quality of care would satisfy the demand for equality...In any case, the universality of government health care in pursuance of the abstract right to it in Britain has not ensured equality. After 60 years of universal health care, free at the point of usage and funded by taxation, inequalities between the richest and poorest sections of the population have not been reduced. But Britain does have the dirtiest, most broken-down hospitals in Europe."
It would be one thing, perhaps, if a universal health care system were the only viable option. Then it might be worth it to talk about how to try and make a better state run health system. But it's not the only option, it is simply the worst option. In fact, government control is what got us here in the first place; how on earth does adding more of it, in any way, shape or form, make sense?
"When the government has made a mess of medical care by increasing its market control from 10 percent to 50 percent over the last 40 years, driving up costs by shifting them to private insurers, and when state regulators have driven up the cost of the other half of care, mandating coverage that makes private insurance unnecessarily expensive, we are told that "reform" means giving government complete control of whatever is left."
Their "reform," then, amounts to more of the same poison that has been killing us."
-Richard Ralston, July 29th 2009, The Vegan Review Journal, "STALINIST 'REFORM': A public option that destroys all options."
"We need not choose between freedom and competition on one hand and long term health security on the other. Markets can deliver both.
"Getting there requires us to move in exactly the opposite direction of current regulation and most policy proposals."
-John H Cochrane, Feb 8th, 2009, The Cato Institute, "Health-Status Insurance: How Markets Can Provide Health Security"
"Rather than endorse such big-government overkill, pro-freedom members of Congress should promote a simple concept: Let every American own and control an individual health insurance policy that can be transported among jobs, self-employment, graduate school and life's other twists and turns."
"What Americans need is a thriving market in individually owned and controlled health insurance plans. When you book an airline flight, Priceline.com does not ask, "What is your group number?" You decide when and where to fly, and then buy your ticket. At least with personal travel, your boss does not fund this. The same is true for car insurance, home insurance and often life insurance. Why must Americans shop for health insurance at work, rather than online or through independent agents?"
-Deroy Murdock, July 18th, 2009, The UnionLeader.com, "Deroy Murdock: There's no U.S. health insurance crisis"
I have no idea why this matters to me so damn much. I didn't care before. I had this vague idea that the system could regulate itself, that there was nothing I could do either way, that my vote didn't matter.
The system does not regulate itself. A republic requires the informed participation of its citizens; to do nothing, to not care, was to actively participate in its degeneration. I was failing my country.
A friend on facebook asked the question on her status: Do you know the difference between a republic and a democracy?I didn't. I didn't know the difference, to my incredible shame. It was with difficulty that I could even recall the pledge of allegiance, in which I thought vaguely the word republic might have made an appearance. It does, as children in the public school system we stood to face the flag, hands over our hearts and said the following:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Maybe it is hopeless. There are some hours in the day when I feel certain that my country is already lost to me, as I learn more and more about how far government already extends its constitutional bounds, how far we have distorted what was originally given to us. I feel sometimes like giving up, like going back to my comfortable life of not caring. After all, how much impact can I really have anyway?
And then I read quotes like this, and I find that tears are streaming down my face.
“Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.”