There are a plethora of subjects of debate in American politics. Some are over subjects of abstract importance, such the right of somebody to burn the American flag or the right to name a child Adolf Hitler; others are of more pressing concern, like how much of a citizen's income should be taken from their paycheck to finance the government's budget or if internet service providers should be allowed to sell your browsing habits for profit (or, hypothetically, blackmail). The purpose of this article is to discuss an extremely pressing issue that the author has something of an insight into - this article discusses healthcare in America.
This subject is an emotional one for me. My mother suffered from cancer for the majority of her life. In nearly constant pain because of her affliction, her wishes to have a family were supposedly dashed by the chemotherapy and radiation that ran through her body like a bull in a china shop. We have come a long way in our ability to treat cancer - back in the 1980's, it was much less refined. Regardless, her insurmountable determination and an unshakable faith in God to deliver her from her trials made her overcome her initial bout. And after several miscarriages which undoubtedly broke her heart but not her spirit, she finally managed to give birth to me. She was definitely not satisfied with one child, and tried for more children, but she was not successful for a while. One of my earliest memories was watching TV, hearing of Richard Nixon's death, with my mom crying behind me. I thought she was crying because of that Machiavellian's death - she was crying because she suffered another miscarriage, which my youth did not permit me to understand. She would eventually succeed in having a second son, which brought her great joy. She was a doting, loving mother who tried relentlessly to give a good life to me and my brother. But fate would not permit her to see her sons becoming men - she would die on October 23, 2007 after the cancer reemerged; despite chemotherapy coming a long way, it could do nothing for the pneumonia which stole her from my high school graduation, my college graduation, and the rest of my life.
My father was stalwart throughout all of this. A pinnacle of personal responsibility and finance, he was always there for my mother. He married her despite knowing she had cancer, and worked long, difficult hours to secure insurance for her treatment. Despite having what could be called "good insurance", it did not cover much of her treatment, and he racked up tens of thousands of dollars in bills to prevent her premature death. He maintained a stoic presence throughout, and his firm adherence to duty and family economy kept them above the waterline of bankruptcy.
This leads to me think, here and now - what if he was not able to get a job that gave him "good insurance"? What if he had to pay more? What if it was too much? Would he have to deal with his young wife being consumed from the inside right before his eyes, life draining from her like water from a leaky tap? Would I never have come to be? Would my brother exist? I find that possibility terrifying, but the reality is that it is happening every day, in every city, country and state, all across the country that presumes itself the greatest in the world.
There are many arguments against government funded healthcare, but there are also counterarguments - the cost burden will be too much for the budget, but the cost burden can be lessened by opening up the market on pharmaceuticals from overseas; it is dangerous to give the government that much control over its citizen's health, but it is dangerous to give government say in anything, and doing so can be tempered by being vigilant citizens mindful of government overreach; that excessive government regulation will drive doctors away from practicing medicine, but the current trend of that can be seen in the lens of regulatory capture; that you cannot make healthcare a right because it involves somebody else's actions and property, but you can definitely make it a privilege afforded to citizens to the best ability that healthcare providers can give.
Such a program opens up many doors, with many tough questions. How much should be invested into keeping a 97-year old with multiple organ failure and Alzheimers alive? Should taxes be levied on unhealthy products to discourage people from living unhealthy lifestyles to reduce healthcare costs, or should tax breaks be given to people who live healthy lifestyles? These hypothetical queries will become solid debate points if single-payer healthcare comes to be. But the evolution of society requires an evolution in governance. I believe it will come in due time.
Because I know I am not the only person who misses their mother.