Sunday, March 29, 2009

A letter to Andrew Sullivan on national health care

The following is an email I sent to Andrew Sullivan yesterday. He has yet to respond and I doubt greatly that he will. He has a tendency to ignore challenges to his status quo thinking on health care, the system has worked wonderfully for him and he seems quite uncomfortable considering how poorly the system functions for those who are not as wealthy as he is.


When you read emails like the ones you posted in the "View From Your Recession" today does it impact your thoughts on some form of a national health insurance program at all? I understand your perspective on the issue. You came from a country with a very poor full on socialist system. You come to the United States and have access to the very best of American health care due to your economic success. You have a disease which you have managed to control thanks to the wonders of modern pharmaceuticals. I understand that such a perspective may lead you to argue firmly against anything resembling the British system. The thing is Andrew, the vast majority of us arguing for a national health insurance plan don't want the British system either, or Canada's for that matter. We just want a system that is more efficient in order to save our national economy and a system that is more humane in order to save lives and families.

When you read a story of a woman who is going to lose her foot because her husband lost his job doesn't that strike a chord with you? Somewhere deep down doesn't your Catholic sense of social justice take over? There is no reason that we should maintain a system that is so manifestly unjust to so many Americans. No reason. In any other western industrialized nation that woman wouldn't be faced with amputation. Here though - in the richest nation in the history of the world, in a nation which outspends all others on national defense combined - she will most likely have her foot amputated. And for what? To protect the interests of HCA/HealthOne? So that UnitedHealthCare can continue paying out $1.4 billion bonuses? So we can claim that we've held fast to some fantasized version of the "free market" in health care?

I simply do not comprehend how a person who time and time again demonstrates a sympathy and compassion for the least among us can be so dismissive of their plight when it comes to such a basic issue as access to health care. This is one of the most clear and simple moral issues of our time. To me it is as clear cut as torture. Somehow though your thought process on the issue of health care has become completely muddled. I can't believe that you cannot see past your own biases and come to support some system of national health care. I simply can't believe it.

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