Thursday, June 28, 2012

Supreme Court rules on Obama Care: The fear of not enough

“I can’t believe they gonna force everyone to pay for health insurance,” a customer at the Bean Traders fumed after hearing the Supreme Court upheld the individual requirement of President Barack Obama’s health care plan.  “Why should I have to pay for other people’s insurance?”
It’s that sentiment that stirred a group of discontented citizens to rekindle memories of tea being cast into a lake. All that talk about taxation devoid of representation took on new meaning after Obama started pressing to cover the more than 30 million Americans without medical insurance.  The popular cry of leave my money alone was closely followed with let the states decide for themselves. 
The lobby for less government intervention has been trapped in the complicated grip of massive pain felt by those who require not less, but more.  American consumers seem obsessed with avoiding responsibility for the ills of their neighbors. It’s not that Americans don’t care; the concern is they don’t have enough to carry their own load.
The debate on universal health care has been that line in the sand pitting critics of Obama against those standing with a glimmer of hope.  The detractors of Obama Care pitch a message of government intrusion fueled by a series of bailouts.  Not only has the government taken more money out of our paychecks, it’s been used to fund a corrupt banking system and failing auto industry.
So, the country has been waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on the matter.  Most of us didn’t trust the courts ability to rule beyond political ideology.  Many expected to ruling against Obama’s health plan.  We expected it to be used against Obama to validate those claims that he’s a socialist hiding in a capitalist system.  He’s not really a Christian.  He’s not really an American.  Many of those throwing that tea in the lake insist Obama is more space critter than human, and waves his hand in a Nazi salute reminiscent of Hitler.
This vote is about the heartbeat of the nation.  It’s about the war of ideas that conjures battles resembling the pre-Civil War rhetoric.   The fight to define state rights coupled with the plea to get the government out of citizens pocketbook are the weapons on the battleground to name Americas agenda.  Will we place the need of others above our own, or is there enough left to share with those pinching pennies to make a nickel.
The wail of the customer at the Bean Traders reflects his own struggle to survive after the economy collapsed.  His dream for better days eroded after his business went belly up due to the crumpling of the companies who fed his business.  Once his business was sold his health went bad.  He’s getting older.  His savings have eroded.  One bad thing was followed by another, and now he doesn’t know how to pull out from under all that happened.
He feels what so many others live with everyday.  Fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of not having enough.  Fear of more money taken out of his check to take care of people he doesn’t know.  When will it stop?
Then there are those living on the other side of the need.  More than 30 million Americans live with it every day.  They too have lost work.  The difference is they can’t go to the doctor.  They live with having to bite the pain of sickness and pray that it won’t kill them.  They walk with sickness on their way to the next job interview.  Many die because they can’t afford medication.  Some die not knowing they could have lived if they had gone to a doctor.
Both truths coexist in a way that leaves us all frustrated with the options we face.  We use labels to define those who are afraid of tomorrow.  Aren’t all of us scared a bit?  Aren’t both Democrats and Republicans responding in some level to fear?  Aren’t we all afraid about not having enough and that even more will be lost along the way?
The Supreme Court decision on health care is about fear.  In the face of all that fear the ruling forces us to consider how the poor health of others impacts our own health.  Health, like so much that falls within the purview of government control, works best when taken out of the hands of corporate control.  As much as we hate to admit it, access to good health is ruled by one’s ability to pay for it – those with have, those without die.
Good health is important enough to force people to have health insurance or pay a penalty.  Some have stated that a person should be allowed to die if they don’t have insurance.  Pull the plug.  Kick them out of the hospital.  Force them to get a job that offers a benefit package.  It’s their problem. It’s not my business.
That’s not the America we love so much.  Fear forces us to consider what it means to have to pay for another person’s inability to pay.  Our obligation as “one nation united for all” rouses a collective consciousness to be our brothers and sisters keeper.  We may be scared, but this we must fix.
We can’t let them die.

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