Of course, American presidents tried for decades to pass health care reform. But as long as no majority could be reached in Congress, the nation just considered those people who had no access to be not so important to society. But as the number of people who have no coverage, even those with jobs, grew dramatically, an entire sector of the population that is supposed to count as middle class no longer can afford a basic element of the standard of living. Even those with insurance have health care that looks like that of the poor, i.e.: very little. So it is no longer just the margins of the society, but a growing number of economically active citizens whose health needs aren’t being met by private enterprise. The leaders of the nation have now acknowledged this is not just the problem of the poor, but a national problem.
This official admission is what drives the Tea Party ballistic. Its a blow to America’s self-conception. It says this country is not as rich as it thinks it is. For decades, America’s success as the undisputed leader of world capitalism supported the principle that America didn’t need as much government as the lower-tier powers in Europe. It could leave health care to the private sector; this was proof of its economic invincibility. That’s why the health care debate raises such fundamental questions: is this still a free country? Who are we as a nation if our basic values no longer hold? State-run health programs might be ok for Europe, but not the US. The Republicans see “American exceptionalism” as the source of its success. Acknowledging that the US has to adopt measures that are normal to other countries is a concession of decline. By acting like just another country, it is giving up its God-given destiny.
posted by bfv
: 2166 days ago