Universal healthcare is a no brainer. People and society taking more responsibility for individual health (e.g., nutrition, exercise, sleep) is also a no brainer. In an election year, the sides – especially at the far right and left – try to divide and conquer, but both of these things are right and true, economically as well as morally. Healthcare costs are the largest driver of our Federal budget crisis and must be reduced (via preventive healthcare rather than disease management) not merely redistributed. Nicholas Kristof recently wrote poignant columns about his college roommate in the New York Times. Although the political angle is somewhat distracting, in my opinion, the personal picture and justification for universal healthcare no matter who is elected, is right on.://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/opinion/sunday/kristof-a-possibly-fatal-mistake.html?_r=0
It’s the reactions that are deeply disturbing.
Kristof is wonderfully articulate in framing the problem. My favorite paragraph:
“To err is human, but so is to forgive. Living in a community means being interconnected in myriad ways — including by empathy. To feel undiminished by the deaths of those around us isn’t heroic Ayn Rand individualism. It’s sociopathic. Compassion isn’t a sign of weakness, but of civilization.”
The reactions to Kristof’s column provide merely one window into the Empathy Deficit Disorder with which we operate in the US today. It is catalyzed by fear, which wells up in people during shrinking times (vs times of growth and opportunity) and is being whipped into a frenzy by the campaign rhetoric.
Does it worry you too?
*Special thanks to Gary Ginstling for sharing these columns