Last night I went to parents night at my son’s new pre-school. The director read this amazon quote about the importance of caring about all children because when your child need surgery, someone else’s child will perform it and if your child is the victim of violence, someone else’s child commits it. I need to go back and source the quote because there was more too it and it was too wonderful to go uncredited but I’m too upset to hunt it down. I’m upset because of this:
That the good Congressman Dr. Paul was spouting on about personal freedom and personal risk is unsurprising. And that Wolf Blizter was baiting the candidates with the question of “Do we just let the uninsured die?” was nearly trite. But that people from the audience shouted “Yes!” with such vigor was…sad. I am sad that the idea of letting a life end for lack of money was something that prompted people to yell affirmations so vehemently.
Those people in that room failed to care about all children.
That callous disregard for human life is evidence of a certain kind of moral decay. That some Americans don’t wish to pay taxes to help care for their neighbor, that they are willing to let their neighbor actually die for lack of money under the guise of “personal freedom” is thoughtless, shallow, immature, and wrong. And it stands in contrast to the actions of actual Americans every day.
For one thing, we have a law that doesn’t let that healthy-30 year who slips into a coma die. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act says that if that man shows up at an emergency room in that condition, they have to treat him until he’s stable enough to leave and money can’t factor into that treatment. So, Ron Paul and those mob-minded crowd members were expressing ignorance of the true state of medicine. We do NOT let that man die in America and doctors an hospitals will lose money saving him.
No, the people who die are the people who have cancer and lose their coverage, who hit a lifetime or annual limit to what insurance will pay for, whose insurance companies refuses to pay for a particular course of treatment. Those are the people who risk death because we have outsourced the authorization of payment for medical care to corporations who do NOT care about human life as much as they care about profits. And Americans have not risen up to protest our enslavement to the insurance industry oligarchs. We did not dance in the streets when the President and Congress agreed to regulate insurance practices and make it harder to go along with the heartless mob who would let their neighbor die. Instead, we complain abut money. As if money matters when you have cancer. As if you wouldn’t hand over every sent just to save your life. Or your child’s life.
You should also hand it over to save your neighbor’s life. Or his child’s life.
The thing is we DO hand over money to save people. Not a day goes by when a church or a school or a community isn’t doing a fundraiser to help a family struggling with medical bills. People give to these fundraisers, generously and gladly. We are willing to pay to help. We are not an angry mob calling for our neighbor’s death. We care and we help.
Why we object to codifying that spirit and helping in an on-going, systematic, and yes, obligatory way is beyond me. I care about my child. I care about your child. I don’t want to see harm come to either of them. And I would pay to insure that it doesn’t.