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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/12/10

The Golden Rule of Health Care

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In the quiet beauty of Iowa farmland, a middle-aged unemployed "tea party" protestor, Randy, screamed his displeasure at the healthcare reform bill into a megaphone. He joins the ranks of radical activists mounting increasingly violent attacks on supporters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Randy and other equal-access healthcare opponents have medical insurance and they don't want to share their good fortune.

"The most pro-choice president this nation has ever elected is forcing us to have health care. Every single person's body in this whole country belongs to the government now," yelled the overweight Randy to no one in particular.

Randy is angry at the passing of government supported healthcare for every American and expressed his rage on a poster depicting a Communist hammer and sickle. Since he receives health insurance through his wife's job, unemployment insurance through the state of Iowa and federal government, financial support through the military for his eldest child, and free education for his high school age daughter, Randy's rage at the "government takeover" is truly absurd. Here is a man who claims to believe in self-reliance and individualism yet gleans all of his financial support from the United States government. Ironically, Randy "belongs to the government" already by his own free will.

Such is the hypocrisy of many health care reform opponents - those who call themselves "Christians," "Capitalists," and "Freedom Lovers," yet live anti-Christian, anti-Capitalist lifestyles of subsidized incomes and self-serving politics.

How can we respect citizens who milk the nation for all its worth, yet publicly declare their objection to government support for others? Who are these self-absorbed people and what will it take for them to reflect on their own duplicity?

They won't be the first hypocrites in America calling for "freedom" at the expense of everyone else. The very first were the nation's Puritans who called for religious freedom and Christian values while committing genocide on a native nation of indigenous people. Early Americans justified their heinous actions by their "genetic and religious superiority," but what it really came down to was stealing somebody else's land.

The second notable time newly minted Americans drew their freedom at the expense of others was the tragic institution of slavery. Self-proclaimed "freedom lovers" and "devout Christians" quoted the Bible on Sundays, the Constitution on Mondays, and enslaved millions of human beings as "rightful property" through it all. They justified profiting handsomely by robbing other people of their personal freedom.

Make no mistake--health care reform in America is about equality, liberty, and money. The nation's citizens should have equal access to decent medical care, not just the well-heeled or well-placed. The U.S. has some of the best medical care in the modern world--but only if you can afford it. In an enlightened "Christian" nation, health care is a basic human right, not a material luxury.

Since we are right on the heels of Holy Week and so many health care protestors claim to be God-loving folk, let's bring out the big guns and quote The Good Book. "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40.

The nation's uninsured from whichever lens you view them are the "least among us." Those with pre-existing conditions and those with limited incomes are completely left out of the system--disenfranchised from medical care that any corporate, union, military, government, elderly or well-off citizen takes for granted. What happened to equality for all Americans?

The new health care reform bill, however imperfect, aims to right that wrong and balance the scales of justice.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal," wrote the Founders. How equal are we if nearly half the adult population between the ages of 25-65 does not have access to health care?

"They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Thomas Jefferson's prose claims it is neither the President nor Congress that gives Americans equal right to health care-- but our Creator. The Declaration of Independence is virtually an endorsement for national health care. Will we deny someone their right to life, because they have a pre-existing illness?

Without a federal law, yes "we" will. Insurance companies have a monopoly on the nation's health. American citizens continue to be denied life-saving operations and treatments by profit-driven insurance executives.

Just ask Wendell Potter, the former Cigna executive who blew the whistle on the industry. Like Paul of the Road to Damascus who went from killing Christians to becoming a founder of the religion, Potter too had a life-changing epiphany.

Wendell Potter was a VP for Corporate Communications at one of the largest health insurance providers in the nation. As communications spokesman, he was the guy that put the spin on spin. A famous case emerged on Potter's watch. A young Los Angeles girl was denied life-saving liver surgery at UCLA Medical Center. The 17 year-old died waiting as Cigna refused the treatment recommended by UCLA's best liver specialists. Massive protests were organized at Cigna's headquarters. Tragically, help came too little too late. Family members and supporters called Cigna's acts "criminal" and petitioned the District Attorney to charge Cigna with manslaughter. All the while, Wendell Potter was there spinning.

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Monika Mitchell is the Chief Executive Officer of Good-b (Good Business International)a leading new media company xcelerating the movement for better business for a better world.
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