Friday, December 18, 2009

Health Care Reform

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the death of any public option, I am skeptical the health care reform bill will do much to solve anything. In a telephone conversation, I called Lieberman's staffer and called him "a prick and a coward" (had it out with their staffer). It probably wasn't the most productive call. Still, I can't help and wonder why Republicans and this independent in the Senate are worried about the cost. They are fine supplying a military budget for two theatres of war ($70 billion), and they are fine with a budget of $515 million in the early part of this fiscal year.

Consider this statement from his website

While I objected to some provisions that I believed would unnecessarily add to the national debt, raise taxes, or endanger the fiscal solvency of the Medicare program, there is much that is needed and worthy in the core bill that I support.

So, this is the only thing I could find on his website as to why he wouldn't support a public option. His worries are all financial, better put with the phrase 'financial solvency'. This seems either really concerned to the spending or a completely vague rhetorical trick. It's a little ambiguous given how much we are shelling out in stimulus spending (Lieberman voted for HR 1 Economic Package which allocated 317 billion and increase tax credits on 2/13/09), and military budgets. And the unpopular observation by me is the American public does not pay enough in taxes like other contemporary Western democracies that all have public health care as a basic right.

What's more is the ethical argument. Whatever the cost financially, the public option is a right, and should be fought on these grounds alone. Rights are secured by the people and respected in the practices of governments. At least, one hopes this is so. Moreover, if a large portion of the population is either under-insured or un-insured, then their suffering prohibits the flourishing of our society. So, the philosopher in me has not really unpacked these two intuitions, but at the very outset, I would defend a public option along deontological and neo-Aristotelian grounds.

One could also find the backing of our Founding Fathers when Jefferson says that "Freedom and happiness of man are the sole objects of all legitimate government" and he also said "The most sacred duties of governments is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens." This talk of justice and duty are exactly what is needed, and a public option does just that, allows for everyone to access basic health care needs. The problem is that we think in terms of cost. How much will such accessibility cost me (the individual) in taxes? The problem is to think like that is already to think outside the commitments of morality and justice. Once we put the burden and cost before us to see if it is prudent to do something, we have already succumbed to the same basic instrumental rationality that befit Wall Street moguls to maximize what was beneficial for themselves at the expense of an entire nation's economy. The massive injustice of both health care reform and the economic meltdown turn on those that maximize their own benefit at the suffering of others.

Morality requires we take the interest of others "to heart." To live a moral life is to be committed to the simple fact that our actions must take others into account. Even if Republican assessments about the cost are right, do we dispose of the very option that meshes with the need to address an injustice. Lieberman's talk of financial solvency can be solved. It's called stop supporting Israel, war and a huge ass military that fights unnecessary wars.


Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

This is another victory for the plutocracy, the Republican party and Joe Liebermann. There will never be, in our lifetime, reasonable health care in this country. We had better face the nasty facts. Ours is not a government "of the people, by the people, for the people". We're just kidding ourselves.

Tom Degan

Carbondale Chasmite said...

Well Tom,

You can give up on the fight, or you can let such attitudinal dispositions remove any notion of efficacy you have. I would remind you that you still vote.