NOTE ON TODAY’S PHOTO: This OurValues.org series is part of the larger exploration of American values ReadTheSpirit is undertaking in August. The traditional Ojibwe teacher and healer in today’s photo was profiled earlier in the America series.
What does resistance to healthcare mandates tell us about the value of life?
If you don’t have healthcare insurance, pretty soon you’ll have to buy it. That’s one of the mandates in the healthcare reform bill that passed some months ago. A lot of Americans are unhappy with being told they have to buy insurance. Last week, voters in Missouri overwhelmingly approved a proposition that would exempt the Show Me state from requiring healthcare insurance for everyone. Virginia and Idaho have passed laws that say their citizens don’t have to buy insurance. Over 40 states have attempted some form of resistance.
Jefferson said that “small rebellions” were healthy for the Republic. They kept the spirit of freedom alive. In this case, I wonder: Is it better to force people to buy insurance or allow those who resist to make the rest of us pay for their health care?
If people buy insurance, they are taking responsibility for financing their own health care. But if they don’t, who eventually pays? The rest of us do. Without insurance, people delay treating small conditions before they escalate into costly, often life-threatening problems. They are more likely to seek expensive care in the emergency department. All of this translates into higher healthcare costs for us all.
In my opinion, not buying healthcare insurance isn’t an act of liberty. It’s an act of irresponsibility.
What do you think providing healthcare to everyone tells us about the value of life in our country?
I asked a question about this in my last three national surveys. The results are very consistent. Two-thirds of Americans agree with this statement: “Providing healthcare to everyone would be a sign that people in this country value other people’s lives.” The young and the old don’t different in their high level of support of this idea. Neither do Americans with different levels of formal education. Religion doesn’t matter. Region of the country doesn’t matter. The poor, not surprisingly, are more likely to agree with this statement than the rich. And, of course, this is an area where conservatives and liberals roundly disagree. Almost all liberals (95%) said they agree that providing healthcare to everyone is a sign that people in America value other people’s live. Fewer than half of conservatives(48%) say the same.
How about you?
Do you think the mandate to buy healthcare insurance is a good or bad thing?
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