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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Opposition to Health Law Is Steeped in Tradition

The quote:

“We are against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program,” said one prominent critic of the new health care law. It is socialized medicine, he argued. If it stands,he said, “one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.”

The health care law in question was Medicare, and the critic was Ronald Reagan.   (by David Leonhardt, The New York Times, 12/14/2010)

We’ve lived through a version of this story before, and not just with Medicare. Nearly every time this country has expanded its social safety net or tried to guarantee civil rights, passionate opposition has followed.

The opposition stems from the tension between two competing traditions in the American economy. One is the laissez-faire tradition that celebrates individuality and risk-taking. The other is the progressive tradition that says people have a right to a minimum standard of living — time off from work, education and the like.
The federal income tax, a senator from New York said a century ago, might mean the end of “our distinctively American experiment of individual freedom.” Social Security was actually a plan “to Sovietize America,” a previous head of the Chamber of Commerce said in 1935. The minimum wage and mandated overtime pay were steps “in the direction of Communism, Bolshevism, fascism and Nazism,” theNational Association of Manufacturers charged in 1938.

After Brown v. Board of Education outlawed school segregation in 1954, 101 members of Congress signed a statement calling the ruling an instance of “naked judicial power” that would sow “chaos and confusion” and diminish American greatness. A decade later, The Wall Street Journal editorial board described civil rights marchers as “asking for trouble” and civil rights laws as being on “the outer edge of constitutionality, if not more.”
Really, people, this is tiresome.

More than 50 million of us have no health care insurance at all.  Millions of us have insurance but can't truly afford to have any services because the cost, first, of our insurance premiums are too high and then the cost of the care is also too high.

We need the Health Care Reform Act that passed this year.

Actually, we need even more than that but for right now, we're not going to get it.

Enjoy your weekend, y'all.

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