When I started the first version of The New Common Sense, I wrote that I had not come to my liberalism from a sense of ideology, but from a sense of practicality. Specifically I noted that I didn't believe in a single payer national health care system because it was the darling idea of the American left, or because it emulated the French system of health care, but because I didn't want to die prematurely because I couldn't afford to go to the doctor.
This last week, here in Los Angles, Remote Area Medical, a charity that was started to provide free health care in remote areas of the third world, treated over a thousand Americans that either had no health insurance, or were under insured, or couldn't afford the co-pays. Because of the lack of a national health care system, RAM has found itself providing 60% of it's services in the United States.
There are times I'm ashamed to be an American, and one of those times was when I watched the television coverage of America's poor and lower middle class, standing in line for hours because they couldn't see, because they couldn't afford glasses; because they couldn't eat solid food, because they couldn't afford dental care; because they couldn't afford treatment for high blood pressure, or diabetes, and because their government and many of their fellow citizens didn't care.
Let's not make nice and try for a sense of bipartisanship. There are those on the right wing of America's political spectrum who care more about the profits of the health care industry than they care about the health of our citizens. They can talk all they want about death panels, deficits, the end of democracy if government guarantees access to health care. That's all window dressing. What they are actually saying is, if people have to die for the bottom line, so be it. They are expendable people.