I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it has become common for people who are against a public healthcare option to use everything they don’t like about the government as their defense. Just yesterday I heard a radio personality on some Christian radio station say that because he didn’t like the way the speed limit was being set and enforced on a local toll road he was against a public healthcare option. In other words, if the government has done anything that doesn’t seem right or smart it is scary to think about your healthcare being managed by the government. This kind of logic is flawed in more than one way.
First and foremost, this kind of defense is fear based. The people who are using it are in one of two camps – either they want you to be afraid or they are afraid (some may actually be in both camps). Fear is never a good foundation for making rational decisions. Fear keeps a lot of good people from doing the right thing everyday.
The logic is also flawed because it compares apples to oranges. Our government is already involved in several levels of healthcare and seems to manage it fairly well. That isn’t to say that there are no improvements to be made, but all in all it works. My mother-in-law lived with us for seven years and I saw first hand how great medicare worked. My dad was a war veteran and his VA health benefits were wonderful. My mother-in-law and dad would have been much worse off without these government run programs.
Another reason the defense doesn’t hold water is because other countries make government run healthcare work just fine, and if they can do it, I say, “so can we.” The opponents of the public option would like you to believe that people in other countries don’t like their healthcare, but time and time again this is proven to not be true. Because of the wonderful way we can connect with people around the world through online social networking these days, I have friends in Canada and the UK. These friends love their government run healthcare programs, see them as a birthright, depend on them. The systems work so well that the typically don’t give them a second thought and even take them for granted. We heard what British citizens thought of the NHS, their government run healthcare program, when the twitter hashtag #welovetheNHS trended on Twitter for several days as Brits of all ages and backgrounds tweeted their defense of the NHS. And shortly after that Matte Black (@Shoq on twitter) and a friend took their video camera on vacation to interview Canadians about their health care system. Watch the video above for yourself. (My favorite part of the video is the “deer in the headlights” look they get on their face when asked about a copay.)
It’s true – the government is far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need the government or that the government can’t do anything good…and it certainly isn’t a good defense for opposing a public healthcare option.