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U.S. Joins Western Civilization

March 22, 2010

Last night, between the Sharks game (loss) and a trip to the theaters to see The Green Zone (more on that later), I watched C-SPAN as Democrats and Republicans traded their final blows in the health care debate. Republicans continued to complain about communism and socialism while Democrats voted to bring America’s healthcare system up to level with the rest of the industrialized world. Nancy Pelosi, who represents my current place of residence (though I’m not registered to vote there), stuck to her guns and now can perhaps be called the greatest woman in American history (although Sandra Day O’Connor probably still has a strong claim to that title). Democrats have shown that they can govern, a fact that was much in doubt as the saga dragged on, and I look forward to further progress in the coming months.

The one thing I wish that Democrats had done more often was make the moral argument for reform. Beyond avoiding the national bankruptcy that was inevitable without reform, countries that are wealthy enough to provide their citizens with health care should do so. In America, we believe that an individual’s prosperity should be dependent on their choices – to work hard or not, to take risks or not – but people don’t choose to get sick. Though there are significant exceptions to this (smoking, unhealthy diets, lack of exercise), major health problems are most often not a matter of choice. Therefore, if America is to be a place where prosperity is dependent on choice, health care should be a universal right.

That’s a bit convoluted but I guess it doesn’t matter much now. The bill passed, and California stands to gain the most.

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