This past Sunday, the health care bill was passed. For decades, Democratic politicians, like Edward Kennedy, have fought tirelessly so that all Americans could have equal access to health care- and now it is a reality.
While I do not claim to know or understand all the details about the new health care bill, nor do I know whether this is the best way to provide universal coverage, I do know that I deeply believe that health care, like education, is a right not a priviledge. I firmly believe that every single person should have the same right to live a healthy life whether they be rich or poor.
Like education, those that can afford it, and choose to spend their money, can opt for private school. So with health care, everyone deserves a basic plan and those that want better should be allowed to pay for it.
Do I personally want to pay for this? I don't know. Do I want to get less quality for my own health care because of this? I don't know. But, morally, there is no doubt in my mind that if I have to sacrifice for everyone to be able to get care then so be it. Just as with public education, my taxes pay for it whether or not my children attend.
My son Austin just finished a history paper on the march from Selma to Montgomery that stopped disenfranchisement practices so that African Americans could vote freely. Hindsight is 20/20 but even still, its hard to imagine that at that time, not so long ago in 1965, any one person, let alone many people, objected to African Americans attaining these rights; but they did!
I think one day when we look back on this moment we will ask, "How could anyone be against health care for each and every individual. How could we be the only industrialized nation not to have universal health care and think that its ok?"
We will be saying to our children in history class, "Well some people thought it was too expensive for our country, or some people thought it should have been executed differently. But I think we will laugh at the thought that anyone could not think it was the right thing to do.
Kind of like when we ask why did it take so long for the United States to enter WWII and stop Hitler. Of course, there were many good arguments at the time, but today all those arguments seem to pale in comparison to the urgency of saving lives.
I don't see this as a political post. As I wrote, I don't know if this is the best bill, or the best way to provide health care to everyone, but in my view, it is the moral and ethical thing to do, and since I am writing this blog so that one day my son's will know who I am, I need to write about this.
So today, for my 50th birthday, I can say that I am glad that I am alive at such a momentous time, when a most significant part of our history is being made. Salute!