Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

October 10, 2007

SCHIP and Health Care

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — codesmithy @ 9:20 am

I went to an emergency SCHIP rally a few days ago.  Let me qualify this by saying, I haven’t done much protesting in my life.   In the past, I wouldn’t have gone.  However, George W. Bush vetoing this bill really hit home.  In any framework of justice, it is recognized that children are essentially innocent.   To the extent people blame those in poverty to their sloth and other vices, certainly those arguments do not apply to their children.  The poverty children find themselves in is no fault of their own, and society has generally accepted a burden to a child’s health and education to ensure the continuation of the nation and democracy.

Every child that doesn’t have health insurance represents a tear in the social contract.  I’m not especially concerned about the wild edge cases that opponents of the bill suggest.  Not being able to afford health insurance while making $80,000 a year could represent the reality of cost-of-living in a particular area.  In short, it is something to be addressed by looking at particular cases, not worst-case hypothetical scenarios.  If actual abuse arises, fine.  The funding can be revised in the future to address those concerns.  The alternative scenario is worse, if a child only receives medical attention by going to a emergency room, that represents a public policy failure.   $60 billion does not seem like too much to extend a working program by 5 years, especially considering other spending priorities.  As one protester put it, “Money for Health and Education, not Death and Occupation.”  That said, I do believe we need to establish a sustainable budget, which means reducing the debt and deficit spending.  However, I do not believe sacrificing the health of children is the option of first resort.

As George W. Bush points out, this is a slippery slop.  Although, I think that national health-care is a good idea generally also.  All the same, there are some prerequisites before establishing a national health care system as Bill Maher shows.

I do not believe that either health or education problems can be addressed without an added emphasis on personal responsibility.  It is not just personal responsibility; society needs to change some parts of the equation, but the desired societal outcomes will not be achieved without individuals stepping up and playing their part.  The underlying cultural dilemma is that we’ve become a passive consumerist society.  We go for the quick fixes and easy answers.  We turn to pills to cure depression rather than simply exercising.  Education is seen as something that teachers provide instead of the student’s effort in learning.  If the populace continues to see itself as consumers of society rather than members of it, it will stagnate and decay and nationalized health-care will be a long-term failure policy failure.

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