Thursday, September 10, 2009

Obama's speech; thoughts on the morning after

President Obama is an excellent speaker, appearing all the more excellent after the eight years we had of George Bush's mind-numbing oral flatulence. But he did not say what some, at least, of us needed to hear: that access to health care should be considered a right, not a privilege, a right that should be enjoyed universally.

In fact, the President's only use of the word "universal" in the speech came in this sentence:
For some of Ted Kennedy's critics, his brand of liberalism represented an affront to American liberty. In their mind, his passion for universal health care was nothing more than a passion for big government.
The right to health care for all people is contained in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which Article 25 (1) states:
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Health care is, already, a universal human right. And yet, we here in the USA, mired as we are in a cultural system that glorifies independence training and hyper-individualism while at the same time vilifying any suggestion that it might be ok, even human, to depend on each other sometimes, can not say those words. And so, the plan to "reform" health care as outlined by the President, while certainly including some improvements, even major improvements, to what we have now, is missing the crucial step. That step is the elimination of the "health insurance" industry, the extraction of health care from the predatory capitalist "market" system altogether, so that health care becomes just as much a right as, say, public K-12 education.

To those imbeciles who scream "socialism" every time they hear a proposal like this, I can only wonder whether they would also prefer to get rid of the socialized law enforcement we already have, the socialized fire and rescue services, the socialized public libraries, and so on. And if they happen to be eligible for Medicare, one wonders if they also want to rid us of that socialistic program.

Meanwhile, our "tyrannical" neighbor to the South has this section in its constitution:
Article 50: Everyone has the right to health protection and care. The state guarantees this right;
  • by providing free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized treatment centers;
  • by providing free dental care;
  • by promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical examinations, general vaccinations and other measures to prevent the outbreak of disease.
  • All the population cooperates in these activities and plans through the social and mass organizations.
That's right, this is from the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba. Maybe this is, ultimately, what it will take.

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