Argument: Public insurance meets moral obligation to insure uninsured

Issue Report: Public health insurance option


Ronald R. Mercer, Bullhead City, Ariz. “America, its uninsured need public option”. Las Vegas Sun. Aug. 24, 2009: “A public option health care agency proposed by many Democrats, and an important part of President Barack Obama’s health reform plan, needs a mission statement. It must simply read: ‘Provide voluntary health insurance for the uninsured. Leave no one behind.’ […] This is a high ground statement — moral, honorable and American. It is not socialism to care and provide for an American minority, the uninsured. It’s simply the right thing to do. Just as Americans don’t turn people away from hospital emergency rooms, Americans don’t leave people behind when it comes to health care insurance.”

Paul Waldman. “The ten dumbest arguments against health reform”. American Prospect. July 28, 2009: “Whatever we do, we shouldn’t ruin “the best health-care system in the world.” Progressives confronted with this common argument often respond with incredulity. “Are you kidding me?” they shout. Fifty million uninsured, the highest per-capita costs in the world, millions of people pushed into bankruptcy by medical bills, worse health outcomes than most of the industrialized world? Are you kidding me?

But this is not a practical argument — it’s a moral argument. Those who make it believe that our system is the best precisely because of its inequality. Systems like those of our European friends, in which everyone has access to high-quality care at a reasonable price, just don’t sit right with many conservative Republicans. If a captain of industry can’t buy better health care than the guy who cuts his lawn can, then the world just isn’t functioning as it should.”

Marc Ash. “Firght for the Public Option”. truthout. August 17, 2009: “As August comes to a close, one of the most important debates in American history will come to a point of decision making. Will Americans have the option to support their own health care system if they choose?

It will not only be important as a political precedent or as policy statement; it will be a landmark moment socially. Will we as Americans care for Americans in illness and need? The conflict could not be more stark, the stakes any higher.

The horror of the drowning of New Orleans played out in media images before a disbelieving nation. The enormity of what we were seeing a rational mind had to view as an anomaly, an aberration. An entire US city left to die with more than adequate resources standing by to have saved so many lives? Why? How could this be? But in places like Wise County, Virginia, and Inglewood, California, scenes hauntingly reminiscent of crowds at the New Orleans Superdome, new crowds of uninsured Americans, desperately hoping for services, thronged to open air or poorly sanitized mass clinics, hoping for any chance at health care, any chance to receive medical attention.

What we need is not “change”; we need tradition. An American tradition of fortitude and caring. It can no longer be the responsibility of the corporations or the government; the community must lead. The time has come to fight for the public health care option.”