Health care may not be a human right, but the lack of universal health coverage in a wealthy democracy is a severe, unjustifiable, and unnecessary human wrong.
If Americans will come together and support one another in having universal healthcare, we can lift this worry from our fellow citizens. It requires us not to be "blue" or "red" — but to simply be compassionate humans. It requires us to give a damn about the suffering of others. It requires us to understand that most of us are just lucky - and could simply be one imaging scan away from a medical diagnosis that could bankrupt our family. Great healthcare should not only be for the rich. It should be accessible to every American.
If we will unify - as the people - that we expect nothing less than equal access to affordable healthcare - regardless of age or income - we will also discover that we have addressed some other important problems too.
1. We will improve the troubled lives of the working class succumbing at earlier ages from preventable deaths of despair - including the massive opiate epidemic ravaging our country.
2. We will equalize the life chances of Americans of different races. Good basic health is a building block for good citizenship and making a contribution. It's essential to earning a living and caring for one's family.
3. We will discourage workplace discrimination against women, older Americans, the disabled, and other employees with higher expected health-care costs.
Many critics argue this cannot be done in the U.S. But the US far outpaces every country in both raw spending and spending as a percentage of GDP. The US is nowhere near first place for life expectancy (15th out of 34) or quality of care despite all that spending.
There are many ways to address this problem - and there are many ways to get at a great solution - but it requires us to behave as humans - and in the best interest of our country and citizens. It requires us to worry less about who's right and who's wrong and simply say we - in the richest country in the world - are tired of bankrupting 1 in 3 families who get a cancer diagnosis. We are tired of children not having access to healthcare. We will not tolerate the status quo any longer.
And in doing so, we will find that our friends and neighbors feel less alienated from a country that has overcome at last one of the least attractive manifestations of American exceptionalism - and joined the rest of the civilized world in reducing our common human vulnerability to illness and pain.