I often listen to talk radio as I drive and for part of my commute to church, the only station I can get is right wing talk radio. So, for fifteen or twenty minutes, I listen to whoever is on. Today, I came to work a bit late as it is normally my day off, and I turned on Rush Limbaugh. I have to say that I find him one of the most obnoxious people alive. Still, in listening to him, the real issue in the debate about health care became clear.
It is not about freedom of choice. Anyone who raises that issue is either naive or lying. The only people who have freedom of choice are those who have enough resources that they can afford to pay, out of pocket, for any health care they desire. Everyone else, regardless of what kind of insurance or lack of insurance they have is at the mercy of the system. If you have private insurance, they make the choices. If you have a government sponsored insurance like Medicare, they make the choices. If you have no insurance, there are no choices to be made.
It is not about the slippery slope to socialism. This morning, Limbaugh tied what he referred to as socialized medicine as Hitler's first step to taking over Germany and implied that if we go that way, we will face the same fate that Germany experienced in the 30's. Of course, that argument ignores the evidence that every other industrialized country has a system that Mr. L would call socialist. They haven't all followed in Hitler's footsteps.
No, the issue is whether or not health care is a part of the commons. Does everyone have a right to health care or is it a commodity to be purchased only by the rich. In other words, do we as a society owe health care to the poor. The question is that simple. How one answers the question determines where one can come out on this argument. If health care is a right to be enjoyed by everyone, then the government must become involved. If it is not, then our current for-profit system is fine.
As a person who tries to follow Jesus, the answer seems pretty clear to me.