By Eric Lee
We have now had a chance to see where this new administration sets its priorities. We have seen proposed cuts to the arts, to public broadcasting, and even to agricultural programs. Shouldn’t our values be reflected in our policy? And where is kindness? Where is compassion? Are these not American values? I find myself asking myself this, day in and day out, these days. Nowhere do I wonder this more than in our current discussions over health care.
In the interest of full disclosure, I identify as a liberal. I believe that there are things that profit should have no business in determining, and access to health care is one of those things. I have no interest in, and have never had any interest in, punishing people of any other political persuasion. To be honest, I think it is important to have a healthy, robust conservative party. I believe that it is through hearty debate that the best solutions can be achieved, in the push and pull between lofty ideas and those who would serve how to best implement them. Also, I have to admit that I benefit from the ACA. I can afford my health insurance, thanks to subsidies, through MinnesotaCare.
I am grateful for the help that has been extended through the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. But I was disappointed by one omission in its original implementation. I was disappointed by the lack of a public option. I admit to my hope that the ACA was only a first step. I still hope, as we once again examine our nation’s health care needs, that this is the time that we boldly move forward to guarantee access to quality health care for every U.S. citizen.
What is it that stops us from doing this? Are we so sure that our own fortunes will improve that much? Or is it that we still believe that the poor must be punished? I can not bring myself around to believe that there is a person, any person, who does not deserve access to quality health care. Many of us live from paycheck to paycheck, hoping and striving to milk just a little extra out of our work for ourselves and our families. And there are many sudden expenses we can run up against that can financially devastate a life.
This strikes me as one place we could find common ground in this tumultuous landscape, where many are always looking to demonize and destroy one another for political points, rather than simply looking to serve our citizens. This is where we could set aside our ideology and our partisanship, and get what is morally right done. I am aware that some have seen their costs going up, and that most certainly is cause for concern.
So how on Earth did we determine that the solution to the problem of health care is a new plan that will result in 24 million fewer people being covered by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office? It seems that when you are looking at the problems we face in access to health care, the two things to look at are going to be cost and accessibility. Shouldn’t we be asking, “How do we cover more for less?” Shouldn’t that be the very base from which we even start?
Plus, why don’t we remove the burden from employers to provide health insurance for their employees? Isn’t this just one more area where a small business has that much more trouble competing with a larger business to attract quality talent?
Look, I want every farmer, every coal worker, every artist, everyone who finds themselves out of work, I want them all…I want YOU all to have access to the best health care available. You deserve it.
And I don’t care what it’s called. It can be called “Trumpcare.” That’s fine. I might grimace. But if what is right is done, then we will all be better off, and more free to pursue the lives we wish to lead.