The Devil in the Details
By Jerome Grossman
Despite President Barack Obama's brilliant performance at his primetime press conference on health care, Republicans and some conservative Democrats are balking at the details of the proposed legislation. But the devil is not in the details. It is in the commitment of the nation to the national health. The president needs to activate the conscience of America to take care of all of its citizens.
The president needs to challenge the country to declare that health care is a natural right of citizenship, like the right to an education, the right to vote, the right to police and fire protection, the right to military defense of the homeland.
Once that principle is established, the Federal Government can determine implementation by examining the best practices on cost and efficiencies in other countries. It is no secret that dozens of nations deliver health care to their people at half of the per capita cost in the United States while attaining better health results than the U.S. in the standard measures of longevity, infant mortality, hospital stays, etc.
The cost of universal health care is unsustainable to the average private citizen. That is why the cost must be assumed by the Federal Government. Health care must be a national enterprise because diseases often spread from those without care to the most cared for sectors of the population. What begins as a moral question becomes an issue of self-defense for the total society.
Our political and moral leaders must emphasize the social aspects of taking care of everybody. If Texas or Florida or California or New York or Massachusetts were invaded by foreign armies, would we not rally to repulse the invader? If any army of microbes invaded the bodies of the 50 million Americans without health care shouldn’t we rally to repulse the invader?
The devil is not in the details. The devil is in our failure to act as one people, liberty and justice and health for all 306,985,793 citizens. We can find the money to defend the health of 50 million Americans the way we found the trillion dollars we spent to defend 28,221,180 Iraqis and the trillion dollars we are spending to defend 32,738,376 Afghanis, 6,930 miles from Washington,D.C.