Affordable Care Brings Out the Worst in Us

June 28, 2012 2:09pm
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It’s really disappointing to see so much venom floating around on places like Facebook after the Affordable Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier today. In a lot of ways, they’re the same nasty comments that I see from so many people about welfare and unemployment, and frankly, I guess I don’t know how to describe it other than this subset of people wanting to look down upon anyone who’s less fortunate than themselves.

Everybody flails and screams about how, “We can’t afford this!” and “I can’t even pay my own bills!” without realizing the irony that really, we’re all already paying for it anyways when uninsured or under-insured go into the ER for something that could’ve been remedied weeks prior through conventional doctors … because regular doctors expect payment upfront, but the ER has to treat everybody and will send you a bill that you can’t afford later.

So it’s not really about the money, despite whatever numbers conservatives will parrot to support how healthcare for all will bankrupt our otherwise perfect nation. And even if it does cost me a few more bucks each week in taxes, you know what – it’s worth it to me to know that other random people just like me around the country won’t ever find themselves faced with the question of whether they can afford to go see the doctor or not…

The thing is, when I suggest this in those discussions, the shocking response I get back is simply that not everyone wants to help their neighbors because from their perspective, they’ve got enough problems of their own without paying for somebody else to go see a doctor when they’re sick.

If I had to go out and work hard to find a job with health insurance, so can they!

And that’s where I start to lose a little of my faith in humanity here in the United States because really, what are we if not a community here to help each other? Everyone at any income level has their problems, whether it’s paying the rent each month or deciding which kind of sports car to buy next, but when we’ve lost touch so badly that we fail to recognize that no matter where we are in our lives, there are still other people out there who genuinely need some help, in my mind that doesn’t make us any better than all of the 3rd world countries that we pity on the nightly news…

There’s a reason why we have public servants like police and firemen – because whether we actually ever end up needing them or not, we all like to know that they would be there if we did – and the same should hold true for healthcare just the same. And while the Affordable Care Act may not be the best solution for what the general public as a whole deserves from the healthcare industry, at least it’s a step in the right direction towards assuring that rich or poor, a person’s health isn’t decided by whether or not they currently have a job or had a pre-existing condition before you got coverage.

We have to stop looking down on the less fortunate simply because we don’t think that they’re working as hard as we’ve had to – it’s ugly, in most cases it’s ill-informed, and it’s not the kind of judgmental society that any of us would be proud to live in. We ought to take care of our worst off because in this fickle economy, it could happen to you or I just as easily as it’s happened to so many of them, and would you really want somebody saying, “He doesn’t deserve it – he should just work harder!” if you were at the end of your own rope after having the rug pulled out from underneath your feet?

Americans are better than all of this bickering, or at least we should be.

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