Look, I'm as tired as the next guy about hearing about the healthcare debate. As a general practice, I try to confine my political talk to passive aggressive comments on Facebook, but I thought I'd take a little time to flesh out some thoughts I had on the subject here. I'm going to do my best to keep this from devloving into a rant, so bear with me.
Honestly, I don't know if the current incarnation of the healthcare bill is good or not. I don't know what's in there, and I don't think I'm alone. I'm not going to debate the merits or faults of a specific bill, I'm just going to speak to the subject of "socialized healthcare" and the rhetoric that I can't seem to escape.
The big question that many opponents of healthcare reform seem to be asking is, "Is healthcare a right?" But the funny thing is that, after asking that question, they really never return to answer it. The question itself is actually pretty straight forward -- of course healthcare isn't a right. That's what the democrats are trying to do: make it a right. So what is it that these critics really want to talk about? Their rights, and how healthcare reform is going to stomp all over them. And frankly, I'm finding it pretty disgusting and selfish.
What the "is healthcare a right" askers really want to rant about is how unfair it is that government wants to take our hard earned money and pay a doctor to keep someone else healthy. They rant and rave about how it's socialism, and they throw careless words like "slavery" around in an indignant fashion to try to show how much reforming healthcare will infringe on their right to their money.
Instead of talking about if healthcare is a right, we should be talking about our priorities. The fact is, government already takes taxes from money-earning individuals to use on public programs. My question is, why isn't healthcare one of these higher-priority programs? Let's tak a look at the programs that are already being financed by these collective funds:
Yes, these programs are all important, but are any of them really more important than the basic health of individuals? It's crazy to be ok with the idea of forcably taxing people for garbage collection, but be all up in arms about using tax money to ensure that people are able to keep on living." I'm not trying to trivialize education at all, but are we really going to say that it's ok to use money from everyone -- even people who don't have children -- to finance a public school system? It's the exact same argument.
What I find really repugnant is many self-proclaimed Christian's response to the healthcare debate. If I have to hear one more self-righteous person clammor on about how it's the church's responsibility to take care of the poor, and that charity should be providing healthcare rather than the government, I may just lose my mind. At least the right-wing, "is healthcare a right"-ers are, on some level, being intellectually honest with themselves by owning up to their selfishness. These church-goers spend their lives passing right on by the homeless on the street, muttering to themselves that the "bums" would just waste their charity on booze, and then rail against people who actually want to try to make the situation better? It's absurd. The church had their chance, and people are still dying and going bankrupt over things that cost most of us a $20 copay and two days of bed rest to recover from.
My suggestion to both of these groups is simple: Get off your high horse, recognize that the system is inansely broken, and rather than making outlandish threats about not re-electing people who vote for the healthcare bill, give your representatives constructive feedback on how we can fix things. Because yes, you do have a right to your money. But the bottom line is that people are dying, and people are going bankrupt when they don't need to. And if you think your rights to your money or your job as chief charity-giver are more important than that simple fact, you've seriously lost perspective.