March 31, 2010

An act of bravery…

Posted in Between Us column, Health, Spirituality at 11:10 pm by dinaheng

I am astonished by the angry demonstration of some people’s responses to the initial passage of health care reform.

Everyone seems to agree that our current health care system doesn’t work well, unless you’re an insurance company that continually raises rates on individual policy holders and denies coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition.

Yet the minute any move is made to improve on status quo, people howl, “Foul!” Sure, none of us like having to pay more for anything. But we either pay for improvements through increased taxes, or we suffer the consequences… consequences that range from continued premium increases to the tragedies that happen when those who can’t afford to pay rise up in anger and start killing others for not caring about them. Literally.

The reason no health care system is perfect is because we all tend to look out for our own interests above that of others. If we truly saw each other’s needs as being equally important to ours, we wouldn’t jockey to pay less than our fair share. We’d be happy to pay our fair share so that everyone would have access to health care.

Instead, we debate numbers and talk about “values” without acknowledging that what we’re really talking about is our fear… Fear that we will lose and that others will “unfairly” gain something at our expense.

There is no logical way to debate fear. You can say it’s terrible that people are throwing bricks through windows and making threatening phone calls. But you’ll never stop such behavior through reason because fear is not reasonable.

No health care reform bill will ever be as good, or as bad, as people imagine it to be.

“The same thing happened when Congress enacted Social Security,” a friend recently observed. “People protested that it would bankrupt the system, and that people should be able to take care of their own retirement without government intervention. And look at how we view Social Security today.”

Today, we see Social Security as a right for all who have paid into the system. We fear that there won’t be enough for everyone when they retire, and seniors fight like crazy to protect those monthly benefits, as they should.

The point is, we are better off because we established a safety net for people who didn’t save as much as they should have for retirement. In a democracy, it’s up to us to figure out how to maintain an acceptable quality of life for all, rather than leaving it to a dictator.

Throwing rocks and condemning others doesn’t do anything except reveal how afraid we are of taking responsibility for our own lives.

I may not like every provision in the reform bill, but I applaud those who voted to enact it. Now that was a real act of bravery.


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