All men are created equal.
I keep coming back to the "all men are created equal" thing.
Intrinsically, from the minute we're born, the life of the king's son is equal to the life of the scullery maid's daughter. The President's life is equal to mine, no matter how much money, power, or property either of us have. To me, this means all Americans deserve affordable health care, period. This is not a political issue. Republicans and Democrats both get cancer. They both are rich and they both are poor. This is about the human body being susceptible to illness and old age, no matter who you are.
Before I continue: I am not a health care or legal expert, just a concerned citizen venting on her blog. I tend to vote Democrat, but I am not averse to voting for a Republican if they can do a better job. Please keep that in mind as you read.
Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of Independence, supposedly believed "[w]e are all equal in the eyes of God, and we are all entitled to equal rights." (pbs.org. 2002. Freedom: A History of Us. "The Declaration of Independence". Picture History and Educational Broadcasting Corporation.) Of course Jefferson and the other framers of our Constitution weren't perfect men. Jefferson owned slaves, so his definition of equality is questionable, in my opinion. Still, I wonder what Jefferson would think about the idea of millions of Americans going without healthcare--when providing that health care was just accomplished by the last administration.
Check out the 9th Amendment:
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage
others retained by the people."
I'm not a legal scholar, of course, but basically to me it reads: "Just because we're not putting health care down here in writing doesn't mean people don't have a right to it." I know a lot of folks have used the 9th as the "right to privacy" amendment. Legally, privacy means: "freedom from unauthorized intrusion". As a woman, I consider anyone's restriction of my right to access women's health resources (including Planned Parenthood--cancer screens, birth control for my endometriosis, etc.) an unauthorized intrusion. Gun rights activists get angry if their rights are threatened, but a gun is not a body part. A gun is a possession separate from your body. I believe people can own a gun if they want--that's a right we have in this country, although I personally abstain from gun ownership. But if you are upset over restrictions on guns and ammo, imagine how I feel when someone tries to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body!
I honestly don't want to get into the whole debate about abortion or gun ownership. That's not what this is about. Again, these are my opinions, and you can agree or disagree because this is America.
I don't want this blog entry to be about politics. I do want it to be about people having equal value as human beings, and having the same access to health care, regardless of income, religion, color, sexual orientation, etc., etc., etc.
And what about the pursuit of happiness? How can one pursue happiness if they've got MS, or cancer, or some other painful and/or extremely expensive illness? How can one pursue happiness if they are penniless due to paying for their treatments out of pocket--selling their house, their car, pawning family jewelry, etc.?
There are those who say, "Suck it up. Life is pain. Learn from Job: you can be happy and faithful to God even in the midst of your suffering." And, yes, there are those incredible, inspiring people who have done just that. Bethany Hamilton, one of my heroes, lost her arm in a shark attack but still surfs competitively. Helen Keller, another hero, lost her sight and hearing to an illness but still went to college. There is a time to complain and a time to get up and get on with your life. But I wonder how many of us--including myself--would have a hard--if not impossible--road trying to follow their example without decent health care. I'm pretty sure both of my heroes had access to good doctors and medicine when it mattered.
We have proven that affordable health care can be made more accessible to our nation's citizens. If you care nothing for the value of lives you see as less than your own, surely you can still see that a healthy employee is more productive and therefore gains more profits for the company. And if your company won't provide health insurance for its workers, then you should at least stand back when the federal government steps up to keep your workers healthy.