America needs health care reform. Around 20 percent of our nation’s citizens are uninsured. In a nation that loudly boasts the title of "most advanced," this is inexcusable. A nation whose citizens are condemned to die based on financial status can barely claim to be civilized, much less advanced.
Nonetheless, there remains a resistance to the idea of universal health care. In particular, critics deplore the idea of a public option. Even President Obama, who advocated the system during his campaign, has all but abandoned the idea in the face of conservative pressure. The primary argument against the public option is that its inception would spell the end of privately-owned insurance companies. Even if this absurd claim proved to be true, a state-run health care program available to all citizens would certainly be preferable to a wealth-driven counterpart available only to the financially fortunate. But there is room in America for both nationalized health care and a private alternative. The addition of a nationalized system would bring competition to a financial sector that resembles an unchecked monopoly.
It is important to understand how the American health care system functions. Insurance companies stand to greatly widen profit margins by denying the claims of their customers. Around one in every four Americans fortunate enough to have health insurance is unable to afford needed care. A public option would fill the coverage gap by private insurance companies.
Criticism of universal health care does not stop at the fear of its effect on private health care. Many are concerned about its cost to the American taxpayer. This is absurd when the potential cost of universal health care is compared to the astronomical price of the "war on terror," which was primarily in response to the attacks of Sept. 11. The response to the roughly 3,000 deaths was a vast increase in military spending costs, now approaching one trillion dollars. We are quick to fund death. Every year in America, more than 40,000 citizens die preventable deaths due to the high cost of health care. And yet these deaths go unanswered. If taxpayers can shoulder enough to finance two wars, we ought to be able to muster enough to support the most basic needs of our citizens. Money used to protect life is better spent than that used to destroy it.
There exists in America an inexplicable fervor in opposition to universal health care. This is due, in large part, to the relentless tide of misinformation spread by conservative pundits, most notably Glenn Beck. Beck and his fellows amount to little more than hired goons paid to stupidly trumpet the interests of the companies for which they work. Shamelessly, they make absurd claims regarding the nature of universal health care: ‘the bill will put countless bureaucrats between you and your doctor.’ It seems that upon the rejection of each false claim purported by conservative pundits, another even more ridiculous idea takes its place.
In the case of universal health care, there is nothing to fear. Nothing but good can come from applying attention to the needs of all U.S. citizens. As it stands, Americans do not have an equal opportunity for health care. So, for the equality mandated by both decency and law, America needs universal health care.