Health care and aging documents…
I had taken a short break from thinking exhaustively about health care in the U.S. but now that the Supreme Court has heard arguments for and against the Affordable Health Care Act, it is time to re-engage. I have often wondered how “health care” or is it really “sick care” became a politically polarizing topic. We have a make-up of conservative and liberal judges appointed by conservative and liberal presidents. Now, with this huge issue of health/sick care, it is going to be decided along political lines. To me, it is a really sad day in America when an issue as big as this comes down to conservative vs. liberal. What happened to right vs. wrong?
Chief Justice Scalia compared buying health insurance to buying broccoli. Thank-you Chief Justice Scalia for making that simple for me! Yes, I understand how Scalia was making the reference: If Congress can make you buy this, then they can make you buy that. This is a very weak and short-sighted viewpoint on the bigger picture. Paul Krugman illustrates it well in his NY Times article stating:
“When people choose not to buy broccoli, they don’t make broccoli unavailable to those who want it. But when people don’t buy health insurance until they get sick — which is what happens in the absence of a mandate — the resulting worsening of the risk pool makes insurance more expensive, and often unaffordable, for those who remain. As a result, unregulated health insurance basically doesn’t work, and never has.”
Okay, so this is where the whole idea of whether or not the Act is “constitutional” or not. Okay, I grew up in the U.S. and I, like most, hold the founding fathers with high regard. I do not, however, think that these same founders had a short-sightedness like we have today. As they were very forward-minded people, I have to believe that they thought of the Constitution as a living document that changed as society changes. Thomas Jefferson (probably the brightest of all of them), felt that the constitution should be changed every 19 years. Zachary Elkins, a political science professor at the University of Illinois states:
“Jefferson thought the dead should not rule the living, thus constitutions should expire frequently, but the fact is that the U.S. Constitution quickly became enshrined by the public and is the oldest constitution in the world,”
Most constitutions have a fairly short life span. Why? Because societies change, cultures change, people simply change. At the time the U.S. Constitution was written, the health/sick care of the country was not a major issue. Today, it accounts for over 17% of the U.S. GDP. Not only that, the per capita spending is nearly $8000…both figures are, by far, the most in the world. I can’t believe that the founding fathers had imagined anything as staggering as those numbers. In fact, I believe that they would be embarrassed that wealthiest nation in the history of mankind can’t find money to take care of the sick citizens that reside in it. A very sad state of affairs. Yes, I understand the “what’s mine is mine” mentality, but that is not something that is sustainable in the long run. The shrinking middle class is evidence of this kind of thinking. Take a closer look at the bigger picture that “The Hunger Games” is portraying. There is no middle class. There are only “haves” and “have nots”….and believe me, there are a lot more “have nots” out there….like 99.99%.
So, ultimately, what is the right thing to do? I think that providing health care to our citizens is a not just a good thing, but it is the moral thing to do. Does the Supreme Court rule on morality?????????