Monday, August 17, 2009

Health Care: Who Will Take Care Of You?

One basic divide in the health care reform debate is a simple question: who will take care of you? Will it be the government, your company, your family, you, your doctor, your insurance company, or something else? How you answer that question defines where you stand on this issue. If you think government is or will be more capable of taking care of you, you're probably in favor of the "public option," and you're probably a liberal Democrat. If you think the government will completely botch your health care, and let you rot and waste away, but you trust your company or your insurance company, you're probably opposed to Obama's plan, and in favor of the status quo.

This is one thing I haven't heard from Obama, and that I wish I did: his plan is about giving you the option to choose who will take care of you. If you think your insurance company will take care of you, great, stick with them. If you think the government can do a better job of it, then we want to give you that option. Obama and his minions, like Kathleen Sebelius, do keep on repeating the line about "choice and competition," but it's starting to sound like a cliche. Here's how I would sell it: we believe in giving Americans the greatest possible freedom to choose who will take care of them. Liberals deserve their choice, conservatives deserve their choice.

The hard part of the sales job, but one of the most rewarding, would be reminding people that the reason they have any freedom in the first place is because of their government. Freedom is not something that you just wake up to every morning; it has to be fought for and won, and it has been. By the government of the United States of America. This is the same government that gives its citizens freedom of speech, of assembly, and of religion.

Conservatives like to think of freedom these days in terms of how far they can distance themselves from government; freedom means being free of regulation, of "Big Brother," etc. This would be a good time to remind them that it is government that gives them their freedom in the first place, and that doing so requires a great deal of hard work, and an equal amount of deep and difficult thinking.

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