It’s The Civil War Dejavu
U.S. HEALTH CARE: A GROWING OXYMORON
Foes Take A Stand Squarely In The Schoolhouse Door
Written by Martin A. Dyckman. Last updated Friday March 18th, 2011
By MARTIN DYCKMAN
If the health reform law is unconstitutional, what about Social Security? Medicare? In each case, the government requires us to pay for insurance. The new law differs primarily in providing for people to choose the policies that suit them best.
But they would be just as irrational no matter what means Congress chose to achieve universal health care. A single-payer system--extending Medicare to everyone--would be simpler and more efficient. They didn’t want that either.
The real issue is not how best to insure everyone’s health but whether to do it at all. That controversy has been raging off and on ever since President Theodore Roosevelt (yes, a Republican!) first proposed it more than a century ago.
Since then, every other advanced nation has recognized health care as one of humanity’s inalienable rights. Some people boast of American exceptionalism, but this exception is unworthy of us. People live longer in Canada, Great Britain, France Japan and forty-five other countries. Forty-six have lower infant mortality rates. In no other developed nation can a pink slip be tantamount to a death sentence.
Health care is but one of the battles in what has become the moral equivalent of a civil war for the soul of America. The rabid Republicans and their Tea Party allies are using the pretext of a temporary fiscal crisis to take our nation back to the era of the robber barons.
Organized labor and the middle class are to be destroyed. Consumer safety and environmental protection laws will die for lack of money to enforce them. Lest the Internal Revenue Service get better at catching tax cheats - the thieves who steal from us all - the radical right is hacking at that agency’s budget too. Nothing is sacred to those who respect no law but that of the jungle.
A TV ad that appears to be a front for Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign is touting voters to petition for repeal of the health care law.
Never have so few schemed to get so many to do something so harmful to themselves, to their families, and to their country.
(Martin Dyckman began his career as a reporter for The St. Petersburg Times and retired as an associate editor of that newspaper. He currently resides in North Carolina and is author of Floridian of His Century, The Courage of Governor Leroy Collins as well as A Most Disorderly Court: Scandal and Reform in the Florida Judiciary.)