The key to our plan for affordable and sustainable health care is America’s unique blend of freedom and justice. Our blend distinguishes us from other democracies more prone to obedience. This must be understood before other details, e.g. single payer and private capital versus government management.
Justice is fairness. It is rules for respecting other people’s rights. Ancient Greeks sought justice, but they tolerated slavery and subjugated women because their rules for justice grew rigid. Freedom disregards unjust rules and unjust rulers. In America freedom and free enterprise were in the air at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Normandy and the Birmingham jail, at the Boston Tea Party, and on the plains where cowboys took law into their own hands when justice was slow.
American health care in 2018 has grown unjust because major political parties are too slow. We have left ten to twenty million people unable to pay for personal health care. Huge evidence is the graph that compares America’s outcomes and costs to other countries. Intimate evidence are the foreclosures on homes of uninsured people who, as last resorts, find expensive, discontinuous and ineffective care in emergency rooms. The graph shows their earlier deaths.
Americans willingly pay taxes and tolls for safe highways, airways, for fire, rescue, police and national security. Yet we are reluctant to pay the cost of minimum life-saving health care for our poorest citizens. One reason is fear of over-reach by incompetent government. The other reason is our fear of losing our freedom to government services that will tax our hard earned money and waste it on unnecessary frills for the undeserving poor. To the degree this happens, it is un-American and unfair. But fairness can be restored simply by discriminating between care, on the one hand, that is necessary and effective for restoring comfort and prolonging life, and care, on the other hand, that some people may desire and seek but has been scientifically proved ineffective.
The ancient Greeks who sought justice also sought freedom. They believed freedom is found in knowledge of truth. America can restore justice to health care by heeding knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work.