Republican legislators and healthcare industry-based special interest groups have long derided universal health care plans as “socialist” or “inefficient,” by clinging to the myth that government involvement in this arena is Orwellian, prone to overreaching, or tending to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. However, government is, and has been for some time, heavily involved in the provision of health care coverage. For instance, permitting employers to deduct the costs associated with providing health care insurance to their employees is just one example of government subsidization of health care. Regulations addressing health care decisions, to include the drugs available to help doctors treat patients, are but another example of the ways in which government has historically interfered in health care decisionmaking.
Republicans have attacked the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) as being too long, complicated, and evidencing a paternalistic view of government. However, it is the Republicans who forced this type of law on the American people. The orginal intent of the Affordable Care Act was to simply universalize health care coverage in our country. By trying to privatize the health care initiative, the Republican’s forced Congress to enact a complicated, largely ineffective, and controversial bill. Simply put, every other industrialized nation provides some sort of universal health care to its citizens. The United States should not be an exception to this norm. The reasons that we have not enacted such a law are simple: selfishness. The American economic system is based on the theory that if all of the actors act in their individual best interests, then society as a whole will be better served. As we have seen with the environment, this is not necessarily the case. This reason naturally leads to those who simply cannot afford a baseline level of health care. Healthcare, like housing and food, is a life essential. Americans, including those living in the 13th Congressional District, cannot afford to live without it.