The health care debate is too much for any individual to understand completely. That’s why reading a bill on the Senate floor doesn’t contribute to the debate, other than to slow it down. There are persuasive arguments on all sides: doesn’t go far enough, goes too far, costs too much, gives too much to the insurance companies, is unfair to the insurance companies, and on and on.
I only know two things for sure about it, one ethical, one historical.
First, the ethical argument: What kind of society do we want to be a part of? Remember Lincoln asking if we wanted to be part of a nation that was half slave, half free? Remember John Kennedy asking if we wanted to be part of a wealthy nation with millions suffering from hunger. It’s time for Americans to ask ourselves whether we want to be a part of a society that provides its political leaders and most everybody else with health care, but leaves fifty million—one of every six Americans—uninsured, with additional millions worried sick that they’ll lose their insurance.
An ethical person must reject this status quo as unacceptable, a violation of the Golden Rule and of the principles of virtue ethics. So the system needs to be changed.
Now the thing I know about history: Theodore Roosevelt first proposed health care reform in 1912, then Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. All failed. If the current attempt fails we’ll likely go many years before reform is even attempted in the Congress.
So an ethical person must work to pass reform now—not necessarily the House bill, not necessarily the Senate bill, but SOME bill. The ethical person doesn’t want his country to take care of five-sixths and leave the rest to fickle fortune