Yesterday, I posted a blog about three people who must rely on contributions from friends, admirers, and strangers to maintain the healthcare they need, and these three individuals are not unusual cases in the US. It is the argument of conservatives that universal healthcare coverage (or anything socialized) will deprive workers of their dignity. It is the pride of ownership and rewards for hard work that gives people self-respect and a feeling of accomplishment. Providing for yourself makes you a better person.
The majority of Europeans, where it is generally inconceivable that anyone would be forced to hold a fundraiser to pay medical bills, seem to disagree. Just as most Americans do not consider Social Security or public education to be a demeaning form of charity, most Europeans do not consider healthcare to be a demeaning government handout. Rather, healthcare is a burden shared by all to protect their common interests. The costs of advanced medical technologies and surgeries are out of range for all but the richest Americans. Medical emergencies can quickly run to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. A six-figure salary will not offset the costs.
Having to ask friends, family, admirers, and strangers to help pay your bills is demeaning, demoralizing, and degrading. The conservative vision of letting everyone pay their own way or debase themselves in their dying months, weeks, or days is appalling and unconscionable. I have my own objections to the Affordable Care Act, but trying to fix the problem is more honorable than ignoring the problem or, worse, declaring that the current crisis in healthcare is acceptable. We must demand solutions. If you are opposed to the solution on the table, bring your idea to the table.
Ignoring the problem is killing us. Unfortunately, we must also be humiliated before we can die penniless and ashamed.