As congress approaches the possibility of adapting a monumental government health plan, both supporters and opponents voices have seemed to grow louder and more shrill to push their agenda. For both sides, it is both a moral and logical argument.
Supporters suggest that it should be a right of all human beings to have affordable, accessible health care. They claim that the the amounts necessary to fund a health care would be negligible compared to the current losses due to lack of insurance through by many Americans. They believe that it is morally wrong to deny someone the ability to continue living healthy and freely.
On the other hand, opponents of the system seem to fear both short-term and long-term affects of such a bill. First and foremost, they criticize the cost to Americans to support such a large and overreaching health plan. Secondly, they are weary of the long term debt such a plan could cause, some even citing the tax problem as our "moral duty" to leave our future generations out of debt. They feel that the private sector will always outmatch the public in terms of offering any types of services to the public.
Both sides have their merits, but what it really comes down to is: How much are we willing to pay to support the health and well-being of all of our citizens?
We may have some of the best health care in the world, but it is only available to the most affluent citizens. For the rest of us, it is an expensive, complicated and bureaucratic maze which can leave many with more frustration than actual care.
It is true that our country does support its lowest earners and its oldest members of society through programs such as medicare and medicaid. And those who have not overburdened themselves with financial missteps in this economy and make a decent wage can usually afford to pay for some type of coverage health plan.
But what about those who slip between the cracks? What about the four person family, who's mother and farther both work part-time, who barely make above the income level to qualify for government aid?
Sometimes this group of "just-above-poverty" earners can have it worse off than those actually in poverty. This is because though they make a little more, they still do not receive the services necessary to compensate for their everyday costs.
So the debate ends in a familiar showdown: Public plan or private innovation? Considering that there has been virtually no progressive movements towards universal health care from the private sector in the last 50 years, I'm guessing the government may be the only possible way to offer a better way .The health plan in development certainly wouldn't be cheap to cover (most) of all Americans, but how much would it really cost us?
"Starting in 2011, a family making $500,000 would have to pay $1,500 in additional income tax to help subsidize coverage for the uninsured. A family making $1 million would have to pay $9,000.Though it could cause us some future debt, it seems that according to the article the tax increases would not be a cause for alarm. Surely a family making 500k can find the extra cash to pay to the plan, whether they really enjoy doing it.
A partial, preliminary estimate by the Congressional Budget Office said it would cost slightly more than $1 trillion over 10 years to expand coverage as provided in the House bill. But Democrats said the cost would be fully offset by proposed savings in Medicare and other health programs and by revenue-raising changes in federal tax laws." - NYTIMES
But shouldn't it be our duty to support our most vulnerable families? Is paying taxes towards the health of others really that different from making a donation of our own free will? Maybe if taxes were looked at more from a donation standards, it would be easier to support the programs. But unless we end our perception of higher taxes as a back-breaking, painful experience, it will be difficult to understand that paying them may actual be useful.
I'm not an advocate of large and bureaucratic government, but when the private sector won't make a stand, its time to look at other options.
A public health care might just be the way to limit the burden of millions of Americans.