Sunday, February 07, 2010

On page four of the thin Saturday Chicago Sun-Times yesterday was a small article with the headline: "Obama: Health care reform may die in Congress." It was such a sad little signifier.

All the debate and anger about health care reform boils down to the question: what is the health care industry for? Its reason for existing? When you parse out the debate, that is the question at base. What do you want health care to do?

At that point the answers are only: 1) care for people's health or 2) something else.

It's become clear we have to choose one or the other, and all this anger seems to be about not wanting to. We've created all these financial systems that are hiccuping and failing and going to take people down with them if they go. But the question has been pushed to this point, and forcing that choice is the fault of the systems which don't serve the first goal. No doubt mess and chaos would exist even with it solidly in place, but that is different.

I don't think you can reconcile caring for people's health with the unchecked desire to make money--not just because one is a more worthwhile goal than the other, they just don't fit. Capitalism is not a self-balancing mechanism that can or should govern all our civic decisions. It doesn't fix all that it takes along with it.

Whatever comes and goes, whatever social structures fall apart and leave other elements to cave in on them, people need health care. You can't see around that fact, you can't change it. Do we want to provide it or not? We're letting people die in the name of not solving this problem, and it's already killing people who were traditionally "safe" from the conflict by virtue of income. So what will make it change?

1 comment:

Demandra said...

Amen! Amen! Well put.

I just read some poll today that showed the vast majority of people who opposed current health care reform measures couldn't explain WHY they did. Good gawd.