Posted By RichC on March 19, 2010
Personal Opinion post: I’m attempting to be understanding of those with different political philosophies than myself as they relate to reforming health care. That said, I can’t imagine those who support progressive social and economic re-engineering of our nation even stomaching the shenanigans currently going on in Washington DC? At times like these, it may be healthier form me to ‘check out’ and ignore the process … but when we are talking about such a significant change to one sixth of our nation’s economy (Heath care is 17.3 percent of GDP*), it would just be foolish to ignore the topic. For someone who appreciates personal liberties as a U.S. citizen, it’s impossible to blindly ignore the changes being rammed through congress with blatant disregard for their constituents. Obviously they are ignoring those who elect them (polls images from 3/19/2010).
The way I see it, most Americans are facing two areas in their lives where costs skyrocket over the past 10 or 20 years: education and health care. With the fiscal health of our nation at stake, most of us recognize that reform some kind is in order so as to bring down the cost. At the same time, it would be helpful to improve the quality of both health care and education, making ‘both’ of them more accessible to all of our citizens.
Those with liberal political views are happy to socially engineer this change with heavy bureaucratic oversight or in the case of über-liberals, a bigger government infrastructure running the institutions. For progressives, this fits with their “we know best” philosophy of how to best govern and achieve fairness for all citizens … often described as social and economic egalitarianism.
This differs from a conservative’s view as to how to keep our nation strong and productive. Those on the ‘right’ of the political spectrum prefer to protect and preserve individual rights and freedoms and allow competition with a minimum of restrictions, similar to the intent of our founding fathers. They see free markets and competition as the best way to improve products and services lifting standards for the entire nation.
Most of us fall somewhat between and either lean to the ‘right’ or to the ‘left.’ We recognize the folly of unfetter capitalism when it come to abusing unskilled laborer, our nation’s resources and a disregard for the environment. Small government conservatives and moderates see a role for limited government that unleashes the power free market capitalism, yet protect people, our resources and environment – AND stresses national security. I believe most Americans disagree with going too far ‘left’ and ‘socializing’ their country. Americans as a whole oppose politicians steering us toward the policies of European countries, where people have become heavily reliant on government to provide services. Traditionally Americans do not want the government to dictate what they should buy, how much they consume or to restrict individual private ownership of property — be it real estate, homes, businesses, firearms or a choice of health care insurance policy.
As the health care debate rages, I recognize that much of the information being battered around comes with a political bias. I’m certainly guilty of that, but attempt to balance my reading and listening with different sources. This week I listened to an NPR Radio Times indepth interview between host Marty Moss-Coane (photo) and Trudy Lieberman of Columbia Journalism Review.
Lieberman has been critical of the press and how they have covered the health care debate. The hour long program is worth listening to in that Ms. Lieberman fairly critiques points often overlooked in the 2000+ page health care bill, particularly in how it will impact many middleclass citizens. She clearly points out that the current health care bill does little to address cost control or to address affordability issues. I wonder how many supporters of the Obama backed health care legislation will be sorely disappointed if our country passes the bill in its current form? Here’s hoping the Massachusetts health care experiment will be the canary in the coal mine in how NOT to address healthcare reform.