Roger Cohen suggests in his NYT column today
that all Americans are in this together. A nice thought, but I know that significant numbers of Americans do and will disagree that they are in anything together with all those Democrat “Hitler and socialist” types.
Here’s some of Cohen’s food for their thoughts, even if they will ignore that good food anyway!
In any context, I would argue, health reform was important for America, but in this fractured one, the health care reform bill that just passed the House is critical. It’s critical because, although not perfect, it does involve the acknowledgment that, when it comes to health, we are indeed all in this together rather than zoned out on our individual screens. Pooling the risk between everybody is, as the rest of the developed world knows, the most efficient way to forge a healthier society.
U.S. health care has been grossly inefficient — spending has ballooned even through the recession — and a proposed new government insurance plan and national insurance exchange will help force waste out the system. A surtax on the wealthy will help pay for it. There’s going to be some sacrifice in the name of the general good. That’s an important idea right now. The Senate should quickly approve the legislation. It won’t “socialize” America but will solidify it by at last framing basic health care as a moral obligation rather than financial opportunity.
As Archibald MacLeish once wrote: “If we had not held these truths to be self-evident, if we had not believed that all men are created equal, if we had not believed that they are endowed, all of them, with certain unalienable rights, we would never have become America, whatever else we might have become.”
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