We will make mistakes if we go forward, but doing nothing can be the worst mistake. What is required of us is moral ambition. Until our composite sketch becomes a true portrait of humanity, we must live with our uncertainty; we will grope, we will struggle, and our compassion may be our only guide and comfort.
~ A. Stone, Law, Psychiatry, and Morality
Health care comes at last. With half of us kicking, screaming, wailing, and digging fingernails into the door frame and the other half throwing a kick-ass victory party, America will at long last join the ranks of developed countries who have recognized that health care is a critical piece of the social fabric and the legitimate province of government regulation, even if we are still fidgeting uneasily at the end of the line.
It’s certainly not a perfect bill. And it’s not a quick fix either. The pieces will take several years to fall into place, and there will be kinks along way. Good people will look at the same fact sets and differ over implementation and scope. But finally – finally!! – we are moving in the right direction.
I hope to flesh this out a little more thoroughly in the days to come, but let me put forward just a few salient points:
- Just for the record, the procedural maneuvers that brought us reconciliation and deem and pass are no more illegitimate than the use of a filibuster to require a super majority of 60 votes. The Senate was designed to operate on a majority vote, and an excellent case can be made that requiring 60 votes thwarts the expressed will of the majority of the electorate. Reconciliation and deem and pass serve as a check to a dictatorial minority in the Senate.
- Requiring citizens to purchase health insurance is no more tyrannical than requiring them to purchase car insurance. Uninsured people impose huge costs on the rest of society. It’s just good economics to require everyone to participate in order to minimize costs across the board.
- Health care cannot be unmoored from its moral implications. I don’t want to get mired down in a debate over whether it’s a right or not. I don’t care what you call it so much, but it is important to recognize that we’re talking about services that make the difference between living and dying, and that changes the terms of the debate in important ways.
If you really can’t bring yourself to find a scrap of good in this, I hope you can at least enjoy the political theater. It’s been unusually exciting lately, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any time soon.
Bon voyage, Rushie baby! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
We’re trying to name a new program at work in which we provide space heaters to low income clients so they don’t freeze to death this winter.