Sunday, March 21, 2010

Is it Time for Healthcare Reform?

As I listen to the ongoing debate in the House of Representatives I hear arguments from both sides regarding healthcare. I hear Republicans warning America about the debt that future generations face, the cost in jobs and freedom that healthcare reform will create, and the slippery slope that our nation is facing as we slip into some "socialist" nation with adoption of what they refer to as "Obamacare".

On the other side, I listen and hear stories of individual families suffering without adequate insurance, the 32 million Americans who will now have access to healthcare through some sort of health insurance--whether by co-op or extension of Medicaid or by guarantees that they will not be eliminated from coverage due to pre-existing conditions, dropped because of their own illness, or because they hit their annual or lifetime limit on coverage.

I tried to Google something that Robert Kennedy might have said about this particular issue. Perhaps the quote that made the very name of this blog might be most appropriate. As Robert F. Kennedy said on June 6, 1966, in his Day of Affirmation Address at Cape Town University:

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

I have heard arguments that somehow this is a question of freedom. That somehow government will be taking away our freedom requiring us instead to purchase insurance that we might not somehow have been interested in buying. That 85% of Americans are happy with their insurance so why should we make them suffer to get the other 15% covered?

The role and purpose of government for me is consistent with what I believe should be all of our purpose in this country--not to wage war although there are times where war is forced upon us, but rather somehow during our brief time that we share our existence with our fellow citizens to act to make life for our fellow Americans a little more secure, a little less more capricious, and a little more dedicated to improve the quality of lives and fight disease and suffering for all regardless of their financial ability to pay.

Ripples start with small disruptions in an otherwise seemingly placid surface. They disrupt equilibrium and start change. Healthcare reform as presented is far from perfect but it is an effort for this nation to join the rest of the industrialized world in recognizing that we cannot go along with spending billions on instruments of death and destruction and not avail all of our citizens of the instruments of health and well-being.

Let us work together with ripple upon ripple of individual efforts at making our nation and our world a better place for us and our children.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Random Thoughts

I do not blog much on this site. In fact I haven't placed a new entry for more than a year. It isn't that there isn't anything to write about. My life has gotten very busy and like so many different things, I put off what isn't pressing. But you don't really need to read about that.

Time passes but the same problems confront our nation and indeed our very survival. We have broken a race barrier and have elected our first African-American as President. Yet as soon as he took office, in the midst of a financial meltdown, the so-called loyal opposition set upon him to undermine his Presidency. Grappling multiple problems simultaneously, the Republicans have acted as a block to vote against America in order to make Obama fail. They have obstructed healthcare reform and thus millions of Americans are destined to be without health insurance. They have obstructed the stimulus, and the recession drags on. They work to undermine climate change legislation while glaciers melt, oceans rise, and our very future is at risk.

"Tea Party" movement, financed by insurance companies and quiet billionaires, lures the poor and economically disadvantaged to fight for their guns, their 'family values' and their very belief in God against a presumed 'outsider' who doesn't really look much like them. In difficult times, it is easy to manipulate the masses to act against their own interests.

The ripples that we need to make continue to require our attention.

I do not know if I shall blog more or less often here or elsewhere. I am in it for the long-run as the challenges facing us shall not be addressed by quick fixes.