2009-06-26 / Editorial/Opinion

It's Time For Compromise Because Everybody Deserves Health Care

Everybody talks about the need for universal health care, and rightfully so. Every American deserves top-notch, affordable health care. While the great majority of Americans agree, the devil is in the details, and the details are open to a great debate, which is now brewing in our national legislature. At one end of the political spectrum are those who believe that the government should ensure full coverage, no matter what the cost. At the other end are those who think that the government should stay out of the health care business, leaving it instead to private health care providers. If we left it up to those at the far ends of the spectrum, we would never have reform of our present system and millions of men, women and children would remain without any health care at all. We all must move to the middle and find some common ground on which to build a system that addresses the needs of our citizens without breaking the federal bank. President Obama wants a system whereby the government insures those without private insurance, but there are several proposals on the legislative table: forcing employers to provide basic health insurance to their workers; taxing employers and using the money to pay for government sponsored health insurance; forcing drug companies to sell the Medicare program drugs more cheaply to help fund a government-sponsored system and so on. Part of the problem is that many opponents of universal health care see all of the proposals for a government-sponsored plan as a first step to "socialized medicine," something that they have been fighting for years and will never allow to happen in their lifetimes. What we need now is for our legislators to speak to each other in the spirit of compromise and for advocacy groups such as the American Medical Association and the Chamber of Commerce to step back and let those legislators do the jobs for which they have been elected - to help citizens lead healthier, happier, more productive lives.

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