I’ve written about this many times over at Daily Kos, but as I sit here sick as a dog, I thought I should bring it up again. This is my new frame for universal health care:
What is the #1 responsibility of the government? Think about that for a minute. What do you think a Republican would say? Many people, in fact most people, would say, “To protect its people.” Even if that is not the #1 responsibility, I would think nearly everyone would agree it is a major responsibility.
So what should the government protect us from?
Enemies? Undoubtedly. That’s why we have the armed forces, CIA, NSA, etc.
Crime? Yes. That’s why we have the FBI, DEA, Federal Marshals, federal courts, prisons, ATF, and other law enforcement agencies.
Natural Disasters? Sure. That is why we have FEMA, early warning systems, first responders, etc. Look at the tsunami, and how everyone felt the governments in that area should have been out warning people.
Disease or other health dangers? No doubt. We have the Dept of Health and Human Services, FDA, EPA, OSHA, NIH, CDC, clean air and water acts, and many other agencies and laws which are involved to some degree in monitoring, maintaining, or ensuring the health of the citizenry.
So if health dangers are something the government is already concerned with, why is universal health care not a part of this model? Why shouldn’t the government protect us from microbial invaders as well as human invaders? A healthy citizenry is certain to be a more productive work force (that is, after all, the justification behind employer provided health insurance). So look at injury and disease as a threat to our citizenry and our national economy. Health care then becomes part of our national defense.
What is the one thing Republicans are always willing to spend more money on? National Defense!